By Matthew J. Bruflodt

Courtesy of Matthew J. Bruflodt

Courtesy of the author

                                      Every morning they repaint the side of the Holy House named for Sister
                                      María Antonia.  It is an old, one-level, Spanish Colonial-style building
                                      with little courtyards that are open to the sky with overgrown trees
                                      protruding, the only trees that can be seen for miles.  I step out on 
                                      the sidewalk and stand by the panaderia, trying to think in Spanish when
                                      I see it happen, the painting of a name.  They begin with a roller, with
                                      light gray paint, erasing the name that is already on the wall.  And 
                                      then with a dark blue and a wide brush, they begin again with the new
                                      name:  C-L-A-U-D-I-O L-O-Z-A-N-O.  Fast along the whole building's side,
                                      he goes down, outlining each letter, spaced perfectly, without a single
                                      drip or hesitation.  And the other, el segundo hombre, fills in the 
                                      bottom half of each empty letter with dark green.  And before I look 
                                      away, the scene is broken up by a passing bus and los hombres vanish and 
                                      I am alone, estoy solo, on la calle con Claudio. 

                                                                                                     * * * 

                                      There is a place on the east side of Avenida de Mayo where the land 
                                      raises up to its highest point along the road, and if you stand there on
                                      the street you can look to the east and see La Casa Rosada, and then to 
                                      the west and see El Palacio del Congreso de la Nación.  But the hill 
                                      also obstructs the view of one branch of government from the other.   
                                      Only the traveler who stops on the hill to buy candied almonds from a 
                                      street vendor can see them both at once.

Matthew J. Bruflodt is a poet and graduate student at Bemidji State University. He has been writing poetry for about ten years. These poems were written as part of his master’s thesis.