Afterwards, Forgiveness?

Casa Franciscana Junipero, Guaymas, Sonora

After the ranchero music that had kept time steady,
immobilized in the cosmos of decibels,
died down last night at about two,
the dogs began to bark.
The dogs barked time until maybe four.
Then the barrio’s roosters began to crow.

I had almost forgiven the canned mariachi
after I stopped enjoying the flavor of it,
the tempo, exotic to me at the start of each visit.
Afterwards I began to wonder:

What is it in me that I feel obliged to think
there is anything to forgive,
in what is not my home—
but surely a home for now, offered and accepted—
after or in between the longer respites
of sleep than I think they were,

and after I have thought the same
about the dogs that wander loose and feral
in a place that is not the dogs’ either
but surely more the dogs’ than it is mine—
and then, after the roosters have finally stopped
crowing their own blaring hours and shrill seconds?

A few moments of nervy timelessness later
the morning waxed official and I rose to the rising heat,
the humidity, the smell of sewage
that drifted down the valley to the east,
along with the sun and the smell of the sun.

I forgave the smell too.
And I forgave the sun.
Then I dared forgive myself again
for the deep injustice of having found
so much that I privileged myself to forgive.

Is this no more than my way of isolating
the touch of beauty from life? Mine?

I recreate the morning and the air in my image.
I recreate time and the sense of time
and the diminution of senses below
into some . . .
some . . .

some shadow too vague to cast a shape
in the glare of the night-time sun
that dares to interfere with the darkness
digested inside my skin.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.