Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies

Photograph via Flickr by Nicola Albertini

The important history
would be of silences:
what couldn’t be spoken of
politely, accurately,
or at all. The maid for some reason
has run up and down
stairs three times in the last ten minutes.
She has widely-set,
shrewd eyes. Pointed out
that shower-curtains can be washed
in the machine. Today unaccompanied
by her shy, taller sister,
slow enormous son,
or mother whose face
is pure forlorn wisdom
and who sweeps as if painting
a pointillist canvas. Today she’s alone.
The vacuum-cleaner is on
for a moment.

Inevitably, again,
her cell phone. Usually,
to the extent I can guess
at the Spanish, it’s like
what one hears elsewhere: I’m crossing
the Zócalo! Now I’m exiting
the Metro! I’m walking north
on the Gran Via! Yes it’s hot today.
I’m finishing the toilets. I’ve just started the laundry—
But sometimes, when it rings,
she speaks differently:
briefly and quietly, as if
she might be overheard and understood.