Who Were You?

Ray Gonzalez

Who were you when the stars were misinterpreted as the fingertips of God? Do you believe in the corridors of the grand hotels? How often do you preserve a pulled eyelash inside a white envelope? Did you speak or were those the sounds of the flooded garden? What happened to the two cathedral bells that filled your bedroom, their rusting shapes heavy and threatening to collapse the floor? Why were you allowed to drink more wine than the prisoner? Is this the best way to get to know you? Should the curtains be closed or open and what happened to that plague of crickets you tried to warn everyone about?

Who were you when someone started listening? Did it help you to know how many centuries it took to dig up the remains of the Spanish conquistador in your backyard? Can you identify his descendents before they find you first? What is the title of that song and how often have you played it? Could that broken branch on the tree be the price of your knowledge? Did you pick between the watercolor painting of the river and the antique photograph of the town where your parents were born?

Who were you when you found the microscope in the attic and the horse blanket in the garage? How many boxes of postcards do you own? Can you trace the architecture of a broken spine and mend it to resemble a crown of thorns? Why use those words to denounce your faith and describe the space between the flowers and that old man with a cane walking by? Do you listen when miracles occur or do you believe the mountain is the only solid piece of rock? When did you stop combing your hair and what happened to your decision to leave the door unlocked and the computer on?