Lois P. Jones: “Milonga for a Blind Man”

The always-pleasing literary e-zine The Rose and Thorn has just released its Winter issue, which includes cover art by Gustav Klimt and fine poetry and prose by Jason Mccall, Linda Leschak, Michael T. Smith and many others. Lois P. Jones has given me permission to reprint her wonderful poem from the issue below. A milonga is a style of South American dance.

Milonga for a Blind Man

    Time is both loss and memory.
    —Jorge Luis Borges

In the middle of the night
a man takes a key
from his pocket.

In the middle of the night
he climbs to the top of the stairs.
From his balcony he remembers daylight,

the crumbled cement and the cracks
on the tavern below. The way the sky spoke
to him, the last one with anything to say.

And the opening of the flowers
when they would open for him.
Pink or coral, her lips staining
his with a memory – a breath

and a daydream of pampas and hibiscus.
His shirt buttoned down to the waist
and the white skin of a butterfly.

In the middle of the night
he remembers a snow heart
and the red walls of morning

where he walked the streets
in search of distance. Someone
has counted his days

before he was born. And this blindness
that followed plucked out his eyes
to sleep. It always comes to this –

edges fading from the familiar,
a city vague and celestial. He has lost
count of all his endings.