Milonga

I recall the bus to Palermo, 
her head on my shoulder,

the way we sprinted blocks
in the rain when the line ended.

I was the least sentimental
American in Buenos Aires,

she an engineer whose father
had been arrested

for something she wouldn’t discuss.
She had wanted me to tango.

I couldn’t stop thinking
what her hair had smelled like

when we’d kissed. 
Later she told me stories

about her boyfriend,
sitting alone at an outdoor table,

eating pizza, almost miserable. 
When we left I hailed a cab, 

climbed in, furious,
but she followed, took my arm

the entire way back to Recoleta.
We were almost happy,

until, saying goodbye, she lost
her mother’s earring in the street.


Kevin J.B. O'Connor received his M.F.A. from Old Dominion University. He lives in Hornell, NY.