What have I been doing with myself? I ask myself, having just sat down--with my feet up, the only way to read and work--having washed and dressed and, with considerable satisfaction at having done something useful with visible results, stripped and changed the bed and started a white wash, anticipating with pleasure getting out the iron and ironing board, later, when the sheets are dry but not too dry; having taken a mug of tea out onto the little back porch overlooking a disorderly range of zinc roofs, and some doors that open onto thin air, and having read Neruda's "I'm explaining a few things":
I lived in a suburb, a suburb of Madrid, with bells and clocks and trees.
and thought I might start the day by translating it--Spanish looks pretty much like French, and if I did this more I might be able to have better conversations with my Salvadorean cleaning person, Amerika, back in California, who must truly think I am limited because in our almost ten years' association I still haven't advanced beyond the basics and body language; having made a pot of Verbena, with leaves from our neighbour, dried last fall; and, oh, I had some breakfast, seasoned with the news of mass shootings, various wars to the east of me, refugees arriving in Norway through Russia on bicycles that are immediately confiscated because they don't meet Norwegian safety standards:
and one morning all that was burning, one morning the bonfires leapt out of the earth devouring human beings--
The sun is making zigzag shadows on the church. It is lighting my neighbour's little balcony full of geraniums and climbing plants one street over. The garbage collectors have returned to work. I hear them coming down our street.