One Thursday Afternoon: Magdalena, Sonora, 1939

Baltazár went to the market and came home with a parrot.
Thursdays in this town were always just so:
What should have been four big potatoes and some white cheese
Came home in a cage filled with green feathers and two wings.
The mathematics of exchange in this world, the stomach or the heart—
Which of these, how much of one for the other,
Friday would have to sort out. On a Thursday afternoon
The world sang, a full dinner this way coming through the air.

Poem copyright ©2015 by Alberto Ríos, “One Thursday Afternoon: Magdalena, Sonora, 1939,” (A Small Story About the Sky, Copper Canyon Press, 2015). Poem reprinted by permission of Alberto Ríos and the publisher.