—After “Bilbao 00:00h,” by Kepa Junkera; 1999


I enjoyed being happy. I enjoyed
being euphoric. I enjoyed hearing accordions
and not quite fifes. I loved hearing the four-hand,

four-stick rhythms of the txalaparta—not
two xylophones but instead one txalaparta,
because two play together,

so that their sticks hit lumber
and then hit marble, which is not the same,
but it also isn’t hollow.

I enjoyed following my instincts
but knowing since it was then and there
and it was you, we wouldn’t

ever have to go too far. I enjoyed
not having to worry about being killed
in a crowd of strangers. I loved

not having to worry we would go too far.
Later you would say you had been
too balanced and cold: equilibrado y frío.

But I would say you’d been—ceaselessly—
whatever we’ve learned to say
when we mean excellent, perfect.