These are different potholes than we used to dodge on Tuesday
evenings. Our tango lesson has changed locations. Isabella
purchased an enormous dance hall. She’s smitten with its wavy old
mirrors, their gilded frames carved with branches, leaves, birds,
flowers. The place reminds her of milongas in Buenos Aires, her
Our car bumps though the mission district, though it’s not called
that, not called anything. Dusk means shelters are about to open.
Back packs, cardboard boxes, sleeping bags, wheelchairs, tents,
conversations and puffs of smoke spill over the sidewalks.
We cross a long bridge. The arterial changes its name.
I miss the mirror Isabella had at her small studio, a wide spread of
frameless glass that accurately reflected our movements.
We pass a full parking lot belonging to the restaurant that serves
old rumors about the Mafia. Half a block from Isabella’s we find
an empty space by the dust-colored house — sunken steps, their
paint mostly gone. Drawn blinds. A padlock.
dried leaves skitter past
a paper shred held motionless
by hyacinth blooms