The Cities Inside Us By Alberto Ríos

We live in secret cities
And we travel unmapped roads.

We speak words between us that we recognize
But which cannot be looked up.

They are our words.
They come from very far inside our mouths.

You and I, we are the secret citizens of the city
Inside us, and inside us

There go all the cars we have driven
And seen, there are all the people

We know and have known, there
Are all the places that are

But which used to be as well. This is where
They went. They did not disappear.

We each take a piece   
Through the eye and through the ear.

It’s loud inside us, in here, and when we speak
In the outside world

We have to hope that some of that sound
Does not come out, that an arm

Does not reach out
In place of the tongue.
Alberto Ríos, “The Cities Inside Us” from The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body. Copyright © 2002 by Alberto Ríos. Used with the permission of
Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

Source: The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)

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