WALTZING IN BOGOTÁ

By: Esperanza Hope Snyder

In this city, when sunlight dances, rain.

Mountains in the distance, beyond

apartment buildings, houses.

The eye falls on green trees, green clouds

crowning mountains, heat rising

in crescendo throughout city streets.

Women in this Bogotá swing

their hips, indifferent to the weather.

Their soft bodies glide through streets

like sailors sailing on Odysseus’s ship,

though also Sirens--seducing, playing sweet,

rain clouds floating above endless labyrinths.

As a child, I cried every night in this city

of dreams until I heard my aunt sing,

felt her hands reach for me in the dark.

We waltzed to her bed perfumed with roses

& dreamt until dawn when my aunt took me

back to my crib to wait for my mother, alone.


Esperanza Hope Snyder’s poems and translations have appeared in Alehouse Press, Blackbird, The Comstock Review, The Gettysburg Review, International Poetry Review, OCHO, 32 Poems, Poetry Northwest, and other journals. Honors include the Donald Everitt Axinn Award in Poetry for Bread Loaf, poetry fellowships for the Gettysburg Review’s Conference, and the Peter Taylor Fellowship in Poetry at The Kenyon Review. Esperanza is Assistant Director of Bread in Sicily and co-coordinator of the Lorca Prize. Her poetry book, Esperanza and Hope, was published in 2018 (Sheep Meadow Press). 

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