Office Politics, Poetry by Luke Wilson Lucas

Genre: Life, Work

Office Politics by Luke Wilson Lucas

Luz let me listen to her son’s message,
A brief statement of his arrival: “Mami, soy yo…”
The rest lost in a gargle of argot and elisions,
And her eyes crinkled with delight at my puzzlement—
To my ear it could have been Cantonese.

This during a time, between her fourth and her fifth husband,
When I read out loud to her, some of Garcia Marquez,
When she would patiently correct my pronunciation,
Telling me the meaning of certain words,
Digressing at times to personal associations…

Like when she and one other girl stole into the convent garment room,
Rummaged among the clothing, first swathing their torsos,
In long, running girdles, then donning the tunics, scapulars, coifs…
And looking at themselves in a swivel mirror,
Hugging each other with mocking astonishment,
Before sliding out of the habits to slip away undiscovered.

Luz was at the convent school to age 14,
Stolen from her mother,
As Luz told my wife,
Old maid aunts disapproved of her mother,
And after her father died of political wounds,
They took her,

Just as after Luz’s first divorce,
With the irony, the rhyme of history,
Her Colombian husband took her two babes,
Though in their twenties, they returned to her,
Carlos the message maker first, and then Matilda,

On her first day with her mother, Matilda sat in my office,
Waiting, crying, while I read from “Cien Anos de Soledad.”
Although I saw her from time to time,
Matilda never sat in my office again.

The winter when I read to Luz,
The light would be gone by the end of the day.
Sometimes I would accompany her to her car,
Sometimes I would hold her arm as we traversed the icy walk,
Lightly, to hold her up, just for balance, providing support,
But not too much.
LWL/January 4 2010

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