CAMINO DE LOS LEONES (Road of the Lions)

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Fortunata Fortunata

In rainwater daylight—

Dolphins drilling the sea,

He came from the cannery

With shrimp like severed fingers

Bluish-black, gangrene.


He brought them in a pot,

All daylight in a wash—

The shrimp a mound of shrimp,

The streets not streets at all

But muddy paths of rock

That led nowhere, slowly.


Her children always waited;

The windows without glass,

The roof of tin nailed

Through rusted bottlecaps—

They waited as she watched

For the man without a hat.


The man without a hat,

With a pot, with a dog—

The sea in silver foil,

He came with his talk

Cursing his good luck:

Her skin like pear meat.


The rooster kept its crow

Until he was gone—

The sea-gold flash contact,

He to the cannery and

She to her floating world;

The dolphins, the breeze.

[From the Along the Gulf series]

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