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El Poema de lo Reverso

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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)
El Poema de lo Reverso

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