2011, a red traffic light at Westport Road,
while driving to the safety of a basement  
during a Louisville twister.
My wife and I averted death, screaming 
wildly, asking for a red light to turn green.

1939, the Loyalists of the Second Spanish Republic
burned his seminary to ash.
A poet, a deacon, sang at High Mass 
when the school was shattered—scattering
the seminary boys and men who ran 
to their homes, and all the girls in sunburnt Cadíz
flocked to greet them in the stone streets, in the
churches unlocked, and the horses watching

He spoke Spanish, French, and Latin— 
he knew words as music, knew the touch 
of voice on the heart.  In the little village church 
he played the organ, knowing all her pipes and stops, 
this looming, found beast of rain gutter pipes, 
and old doors and jambs—
often he turned sharply to see Incarnate God 
in the verses, but then 
for a time the only Word he could dream 
was Nico, from the Zarsuela—

her lovely, white frocked frame adorned—a lucent 
raven would sing Ave Maria while he played.  
His notes carried her, a bird song, aloft in the nave, 
above the aisles of whispering communicants.  
Dreaming he thought not of any particular 
or universal thing, rather a persistent dawning—
the husband, the father I could be.

See them folded across each other, roaming in Casas Viejas, 
deacon and songstress, shuffling past the apothecary 
and cafes, on the cold, knowing stones that 
survived massacres, 
and could bear one feelingly, the eyewitnesses to time.  
Her heels: staccato echoes in the short streets 
between the stuccoed buildings, and there were 
gardens on the balconies from where the good boys 
cast their sad gazes on the unreachable beauties 
passing by.

See gold bands purchased to adorn this royalty.
Hear a song at Mass shared as one would pen 
a tanka or a letter.
It is dancing, a swell and rise atop the pews felicitous,
talking of sons and daughters to come, better days, and
gypsy nights.

1944, this sleeping town of little old houses, 
the world at war, a limping peace at the door, 
in Nuestra Señora del Socorro 
caring not a whit for what was lost, 
or what could be, 
this couple they married—
and 29 years later, dear Papí, I was born—you see?