The Start of the Past

The Start of the Past
(México DF)
Catriona Cameron

Diego spreads a galactic palm wide, picks a sugar cube which revolves
into a quaoar. At the door he breathes departure,
sails like a comet into the subway.

A bearded man squinting like a sailor greets him.
Reveals the view over Lago Texcoco.
I see my name ascend over this lake, I see the queen at her window honouring my return.

His words fly overhead, straight beaked,
he returns their gaze
like a bird.

Diego plunges deep into puerperal waters.
At midnight the clock only struck once.
What time zone is it?
The lago is boiling. Here there is no moon.
A taxi pirato rolls into a local’s revolving words:
                                                                                                                  To-do re-c-to p-o-r l-a No-ch-e tri-ste.

Frida dances on rooftops, offers:
a bunch of aphelia; celestial chrysanthemums.
¡Un accidente!
Her laugh orbits into the night.
In her pupils unknown men charge into battle,
two headed, monstrous.
She smiles quaquaversally, feigning innocence.

Diego paints streaming skyscrapers which Frida
climbs to a mega-top.
Daring to look down she exclaims:
I know this view but it is… only you!
What time is it? They rush down escalators into

A man, angry in a noble manner,
picks the spines from a small cactus with his teeth.
He frowns.
This used to be my kingdom! Scanning the bewildered
subway line for an explanation.
It got smaller, there was a sky.
He sticks the spine into his arm, from where he is relieved to still see blood.

A street artist repaints history on subway walls.
He chooses his colours from a vortex of a thousand witnesses.
He dips his brush deep, glazes the azimuth in violet blue.
Frida whispers her hopes dark winged on mosquitoes.
Lighting a cigarette, Diego reveals:
an eagle with a snake in its beak.
The snake yawns, the eagle sings, the mosquitoes hum
elapsed songs.

Frida pirouettes caught in silver turnstiles.
Diego turns: this is the oldest site in Mexico.
If only I had known
, she replies, sticking pins into a star.
The subway map flies off in the wind. Stations tumble like asteroids.
They count them like regrets.

                   Viveros                                                                                           Acatitla





Catriona Cameron has lived around the world. Her writing is inspired by the people she had met and the journeys she has taken in four continents. You can contact her at, at or @luckydiplife.