Yaddyra Peralta Miami (Jennifer Litt)
Even at the Masonic Temple Near the Miami River, I Think of Hialeah
It grazes the clouds, but not like a skyscraper high above
a city. This pavilion's crowd is invisible. Voices long dead
whisper past the Doric columns, elephantine and marvelous.
They scuttle about the vaulted hallways to find a cleft
through which to rise up toward the roof, ziggurat—topped
by a cupola resembling an ancient priest's temple--
fortified as if to protect against enemies, high-placed
as if to avoid rising waters. What danger
from this River then, so short and peripheral?
Sometimes I am just a girl, still in Hialeah, whose name
means pretty prairie or high prairie depending on who you ask.
That jury-rigged city, strip malls and molding houses canal-side.
The waters near there meander, carry our hum like overladen cargo.
In Miami, we are all little girls from Hialeah,
excavating potholed pavement for the past, so
recent, and so bewildering. If the temple lifts our old song
of limestone, marl, and muck, speaks our new tongue
of steel and glass, then our disembodied din aims high
for sky-bound transmission to the near-atmosphere,
older than Miami, as everything but the future is.