El Poema de lo Reverso

By Victor Hernández Cruz b. 1949 Victor Hernandez Cruz
In which everything goes backwards
in time and motion
Palm trees shrink back into the ground
Mangos become seeds
and reappear in the eyes of Indian
women
The years go back
cement becomes wood
Panama hats are seen upon skeletons
walking the plazas
Of once again wooden benches
The past starts to happen again
I see Columbus’s three boats
going backwards on the sea
Getting smaller
Crossing the Atlantic back to the
ports of Spain    Cadiz    Dos Palos    Huelva
Where the sailors disembark
and go back to their towns
To their homes
They become adolescents again
become children                infants
they re-enter the wombs of their mothers
till they become glances
Clutching a pound of bread
through a busy plaza
that becomes the taste
of the sound of church bells
in reverberation.

Victor Hernandez Cruz, “El Poema de lo Reversa” from Maraca: New and Selected Poems 1966-2000. Copyright © 2001 by Victor Hernandez Cruz. Reprinted by permission of Coffee House Press. www.coffeehousepress.org

Source: Maraca: New and Selected Poems 1966-2000 (Coffee House Press, 2001)

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Poet Victor Hernández Cruz b. 1949

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Activities, Travels & Journeys, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Victor Hernández Cruz

Biography

Victor Hernandez Cruz was born in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico. He moved to New York City with his family when he was five years old, but he didn’t start learning English until two years later when his family bought a television set. He started writing poetry early and at seventeen self-published his first book, Papo Got His Gun! And Other Poems, on a mimeograph machine. Since then, more than a dozen collections of his poems—among . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Travels & Journeys, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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