Morning, Pance – by Ben Corvo

(Colombia, 1985)

Some mornings
I would cut myself from the room
that had grown about me
like a second skin
and with the throb of the cut
still aching
in the hollow where my ribcage
meets the soft of my abdomen,
I would walk past the sleeping dogs,
the tree with spidery branches
and pink blossoms,
the yucca that they planted over flowers
from the grave of Camilo,
the priest.

I would walk streets as empty
as the mouthpiece of the dead,
the fields
     steaming and breathing
                like a sleeping animal,
  the white cows with long ears.

The warm subsoil dark would fade.

The roosters would call out
    and answer,
           back and forth,
                   back and forth
like the dead do.
           The sun
would catch the tips of the mountains,
the same mountains that,
come nightfall,
would cut the sun
in half.

Ben Corvo recently returned to “Morning, Pance” after letting it lie fallow for more than thirty years. He presently lives, works, and learns in Jerusalem, where he still rises, most mornings, in the early, quiet hours.

Art: Out of My Head and Into My Skin II, collage on archival paper
Artist Statement: To me, this poem is about coming out of your space, out of your head, and awakening to the life (and death because they are one in the same) all around you.