Tomás Q. Morín
Miles Davis Stole My Soul

is not entirely accurate because John Coltrane was there, 
and Bill Evans too, and I forget who else 
because after they finished playing and fled the scene 
I felt kind of, not blue exactly, but green, 
the kind the old masters used to paint trees groaning 
or the warm sheen on a rotten ham. My soul 
had begged me to listen to jazz 
after we argued about the stoic on the corner 
selling flowers, ranting about paradise 
and how the soul was a kind of vegetable, a cucumber 
I think he said, which I wanted to believe, 
even if the cucumber is obviously a fruit. 
My soul knew this wasn’t right 
of course, it being the subject in question, 
so it sought to prove me wrong 
by inviting Miles and Co., while I was making a salad 
no less, two parts radish, one part joke, 
to dip their notes like ladles and empty 
my heart. By the time I’d chewed the last piece of lettuce, 
my soul was gone and there was no one left 
with whom to argue about the seemingly arbitrary 
best by dates on milk cartons 
which are meant to convey a sense of security, 
however fragile, or about the defect in every body of water 
an impressionist painted, who, for all their love 
of nature never set one ripple right, 
a fact I learned in the days that followed 
searching for my soul in lakes and rivers, 
dishpans and aquariums, because God is nothing 
if not a comedian, and when I still couldn’t find my soul, 
I found an intersection and lectured on charity and loss. 
I still remember the sweet faces in the passing cars 
when I began to pray for rain and dance 
the flamenco; I remember it was a Wednesday 
because nothing significant ever happens on a Wednesday. 

When no clouds bloomed on the horizon 
as a symbol of divine forgiveness, I returned home 
where I found the stoic with milk on his lips, 
skinning an orange, standing in the same place 
I had stood with my salad, this peddler of cucumbers 
whom I was going to remind about the laws 
of property, except he started singing, 
yes, singing, a song I hadn’t heard before 
but that I was sure was godly 
because I recognized Galilee and Adam and shame, 
as well as the white rolling of his eyes, 
which told me he was now a servant of the music 
making his throat open and close like a gate, 
releasing the warm floodwaters of his voice 
that filled and overran the hole 
I had still been calling my heart. 
If in that moment you had been flying 
in a plane high above the country of my body 
you would’ve been surprised, as I am now, by the sight 
of barren plains broken by a system of clear lakes 
shaped like a patch of wild cucumbers, 
a once noble fruit that saved nations 
because it was hardy, versatile, and demanded so little.

 
Found In Volume 42, No. 06
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Tomás Q. Morín
About the Author

Tomás Q. Morín won the 2012 APR/Honickman First Book Prize for his collection A Larger Country.  He received his MFA from Texas State University, and MA from Johns Hopkins University.  He is the recipient of scholarships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and the New York State Summer Writers Institute, and was a fellow at the Idyllwild Summer Arts Program.  He is a Senior Lecturer at Texas State University.