Everything I don’t know I learned in Tegucigalpa

The hiss of dark, the music of concrete, the smell of horns
rise in a breeze to the rooftop of a Tegucigalpa
hotel. Oh, and I should mention the melancholy.
I’m smoking to get the taste out.
The lives of the dead are only the beginning.

I saw a woman late at night walk alone, heard her heels
tap the secret even the rock street buckled and cracked and broke
windows and tilted signs.
This was not a natural disaster but the natural way
things are after laughter from the pool hall dies.

The clump of boys had gone, the shutters closed, girls on the stoop
dissolved into night, and even the pimp who backhanded her across the face
slammed his car door and drove away.
She stood alone on the curb, with a hand raised to her cheek.
Oh, and have I mentioned the melancholy?

She waited a long time still as a rock or a rabbit,
and then she dropped her hand from her face and walked around the corner and leaned
against the wall and from here I saw the bare
tops of her titties as she talked to someone
I couldn’t see. Just so you to get the picture.

I’m on a rooftop four
stories up leaning on the brick wall smoking a cigar and drinking
rum from a plastic cup. Rebar sticking out of the wall and out of the roof and the low
clothes lines make walking and drinking even harder so I lean
my elbows on the concrete and lean out over the city like a dumb king

with my friends also drinking and smoking and wobbling over this wild city
on the night—oh, and have I mentioned?—on the night
before we are to fly away again which is when we hear the tap-tap of her high heels.
We look down, lean over to see
her start to walk down the middle of the street,

tight pink tank top and blond hair on brown skin shoulders and more leg—
she has no pants on,
only a thong and her round buttocks are bare flanks like a magnificent horse
she’s riding toward the corner of the broken street or the next corner or the next
where she’ll stand to flag a cab—more

leg and hip and bare bottom than anybody
has ever seen in the history of the world.
Catching the cab won’t be hard
or maybe it will if they know her and know she never pays
except with skin, skin to the night and city like a dare

or a gasp—nothing will be nothing, blessed be nothing,
dust, death, but not tonight for her—
her bare legs and high, bare saying hey! hey! like the call of ravens with each
scrape of her heel and each quiver of her high, bare—each
step says life, says take me but be warned for I’m brave and bad and soon

I’ll be gone—each quiver of her high, bare—
gone. And then she was—did I mention?—around
the corner and even the sound—have I mentioned?—gone
and all of us blinked sex and felt it, hey—the melancholy?—felt
her high bare gone hollow like a shadow of only

phantom floozy courage passing, her high bare
unguarded womb and me without a thought.
Whose mind can get that big anyway? Something has to break
when a woman walks wearing no pants late at night down a city—
did I mention?—a city street wearing no pants.

We saw her from the rooftop of a Tegucigalpa hotel.
We slid back our drinks and blinked our bent selves back from the wall.
We leaned toward the stairs and our safe beds
and oh, sure, yes, listen—did I mention yet
(her steps, her steps, I will, I will)
—the morning?