Melquíades

[Poem based on One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.]

Was it worth it? I wonder at the end of my life–
the last end, for a hundred times I’d died;
each time, I could not bear the solitude of death;
I rose, or fell from the sky–
a very old man with enormous wings.

I drowned,
weighed down, down,
by things I’d seen in a speck of dust.

I saw it all;
faces reflected in my crystal ball—
so cold. Frost choked the banana trees.
I saw them choking and said

nothing

as I said nothing
when the golden boy showed me the lines
etched in his palm.

I saw it all in a block of ice
that did not melt in tropical heat:
each advance and limping retreat;

and I said nothing
of defeat.

I knew it all, pastpresentfuture,
stagnating, and still, I sailed on
a ship bound to wreck in the jungle,
bound to splinter, bound to sink, in swells
of dust.

His hand pressed against ice,
how could I tell him that we were already

frozen?