Last Night in Chile (Pardon the intrusion)

My last night in Chile,
I walked up the hill.
Five buses passed me with the lights off
—out of service—
crammed with people standing in the center.
That happened last night too.
So I walked up the hill.
Yellow streetlights bathed the sidewalk,
the shrubs,
the houses.
I was practicing my rrr’s.
I felt the humidity of sweat in my armpits
and under my backpack.
So I sat down on the bald spot on the hill,
and waited.
A dog in the distance was throwing a fit,
like a two-year old,
the same bark over and over,
twenty times.
Another replied with four or five.
Then the first did fifteen more,
this time in pairs—
makes you want to club him one.
Then it got quiet.
The sound of the cars faded away
like the foam on the ocean.
The dogs were silent.
I heard glass clinking in a kitchen
somewhere down below.
The yellow lights brightened the rim of the sky.
But the light faded as my eyes climbed upward.
The darkness took over,
and I could almost hear the stars.
I continued walking when the sweat had turned to coldness.



Chan said...

Travis! Great to hear from you. Tanner and I saw a picture of you the other night on this blog and we both agreed that we think you're pretty awesome.

So, Chile...how was that? Just kidding. Have people asked you that a million times?

Favorite part of the poem was the dog barking incessently, like a two year old. Marry Christmas.

Chan said...

I mean mErry Christmas.

Sky said...

Hey, Trav. It'd sure be nice to have you pass through with your guitar and grab Rhett to jam with you.I'm sure missing this guitar music. My favorite line was the "clinking glass in the kitchen." Such a soft twilight sound.

Sky said...

I don't think "jam" is a word anymore, is it? What do you say, Tanner, when the guitar playing is spontaneous, unrehearsed, playing off of each other. Is there a word for it?

meg said...

I think we need to begin the new semester with a training on how to use the blog. I've mastered facebook, but I can't even figure out how to post my own uh...thing...on the front page. I can only make comments. Maybe you can copy and paste it for me Sis. Morgan?

It's snowing a wet goopy snow this morning. Everyone says it's coming down fast, but really it's just swirling a lot and taking it's sweet time to get to the ground. Maybe I will play with my little brother inside today. He came home from BYU last night. As soon as we got in the car, he told me he had a surprise for me. I love surprises! But I hate waiting for them. If you have a surprise for me, fabulous. But don't make me wait for hours to find out what it is!

When we got home, we congregated in the kitchen like a real family again. I picked the pretzels out of a bag of Chex mix sitting on the counter and reminded him every minute or so about his promise. He pulled out all the cereal boxes in the cupboard and asked which I wanted. "Cinnamon Life is one of the most delicious cereals in the world," he said. Cereal? At 11 p.m. after eating at Wendy's and drinking an entire glass of water? Yeah right. Then it flooded back.

Four years ago--before we went to college and on missions--we'd sat at the table eating cereal, and suddenly we were racing. Like before school when we were little and Mom would tell us we'd be late if we didn't hurry. He shoveled the cereal in. I chewed as fast as possible. We ended up laughing so that milk spilled into our bowls faster than into our tummies. We couldn't take a bite (or breathe) for over a minute. Then, I took a deep breath and lifted the bowl to my mouth, drinking the last of the milk. Against all odds, I had won.

That was my surprise. He wanted a rematch. It had been my favorite memory with my brother for years. Could spontaneity repeat itself on command? This time we told my mom to grab the camera, so it's completely documented on facebook. My mom started laughing so hard at the awkward photos that we couldn't help but laugh too, which recreated the entire contest. He won this time. My little brother is back.