When the sun’s whiteness closes around us
Like a noose,
It is noon, and Molina squats
In the uneven shade of an oleander.
He unfolds a map and, with a pencil,
Into a bruise;
He dots rain over Bogotá, the city of spiders,
And x’s in a mountain range that climbs
Like a thermometer
Above the stone fence
The old never thought to look over.
A fog presses over Lima.
Brazil is untangled of its rivers.
Where there is a smudge,
Snow has stitched its cold into the field.
Where the river Orinoco cuts east,
A new river rises nameless
From the open grasses,
And Molina calls it his place of birth.
Gary Soto, “The Map” from The Tale of Sunlight (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1978). Copyright © 1978 by Gary Soto. Reprinted with the permission of the author, www.garysoto.com.
Source: The Tale of Sunlight