Published On: Thu, Feb 3rd, 2011

The Poetry On Lori Nolasco: The Millennial Census-Taker

Here is another beautiful submission from my twitter friend Lori (@LDNMisBanderas)

buen provecho….



The Millennial Census-Taker

In response to Robert Frost's “The Census-Taker” 

In lilac time I came to the Avenida

to that high-rise that bears the flame tree's name.

Doors left ajar to tantalize and torture

with faint aromas of cilantro and bell peppers-

how many seasons until they're thrown open wide?

Who dwelled in each compact, box-like apartment

from which faint strains of salsa reached my ears?

I came as census-taker to my pueblo

not to count souls but to be counted among them. 

What kind of errand is this when I knock

on strangers' doors? What emptiness, what hope?

They show themselves through chinks and gaps and cracks.

At least if they hid I could say that I found none.

Doors left ajar are worse than those that slam

and seal shut, secured by locks and deadbolts

while dwellers ignore the knocking and grow quiet. 

The time was spring and the first rains of May

made even the lilacs shiver on the bush.

My boots made tracks and impressions on the still-

muddy ground but not the tracks I'd hoped for.

Then children who knew no evil or suspicion

appeared at the windows until their mothers called them

and jerked them back until the curtains billowed.

¡Vengan por acá, no estamos! We're not home! 

Where is my portion of pernil, mangu and flan?

Who started this endless game of hide-and-seek

where even the children hide now in plain sight?

And what of breaking bread with guests and strangers?

I am no stranger nor am I a guest.

More than a stepmother, less than a child with birthright

I wait in joyful hope for the second coming.

Who will find the census-taker and count her? 


Lori D. Nolasco


The Poetry On Lori Nolasco: The Millennial Census-Taker