“It doesn’t seem reasonable to build a new version of the death of the poet based only on the opinions of his driver.”
—official statement by the Pablo Neruda Foundation, 2011
Today in a wooden house with low ceilings by the coast
We are given coffee just after four.
Later, taken to the poet’s grave. Schoolchildren
have chalked up the path
with a long game of hopscotch.
Perhaps not by the coast
but better to say: on a cliff over the ocean the poet’s body
will be drawn up from the ground tomorrow.
Low tide, the string quartet is rehearsing on the beach.
The cellist asks the poet’s nephew for a clothespin against the wind.
At night, perhaps you are expecting this, we build a fire.
The driftwood catches well; the smoke is salt-thick
and everywhere. We turn our back to it, step closer
some to the house, some to the water.
It is late and hard to hear.