The Witness

Alfama, Lisboa, Portugal

Vincent van Gogh, “Wheat Fields Under Thunderclouds”, 1890

Every morning I step out
to witness the world.

This morning, a pigeon basking before
an illuminated sky.

The abnormal sun light and sea water
collided last night, created a corner —

a portal before which the tree
breathes, and

the downstairs neighbor hung
new laundry with a smell that begs fall

to come. I watch a black kitten tug paws
with her friend chihuahua —

across the rooftops, more laundry being
hung, a Portugese tradition

soaking up sun,
and the water’s reflection

before the window closes off
the season, and cycles us onward
 towards other

What else did I witness this morning?

A dog bouncing down the old cobblestone
street, coming home from surgery, cone-headed.

I witnessed the mold of the rooftops
begging for rain it won’t receive today.

I witnessed again, the wind and its ego-
insistence; pushing itself first through the leaves.

I saw an energy take me into the kitchen
corner to say, here, this, is what you must

I witnessed the water rise up from the force of the speed boat, gliding down the delta, disappearing in its disruption and showing itself off
again, reappearing.

And there was that old woman’s anger
seeping out of her wrinkles, next
door — aging her face into the grave
out of fear that the pigeons would shit
on her bedsheets, which were hanging,
drying their damp souls out
on the clothesline.

Perhaps all war
comes from fear of losing what we believe
is ours only.

But what about unity?
What about