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Jaguar

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some say
I'm now almost
extinct in this park

but the people
who say this
don't know

that by smelling
the orchids
in the trees

they're sensing
the fragrance
of my chops

that by hearing
the rumbling
of the waterfalls

they're listening
to my ancestors'
great roar

that by observing
the constellations
of the night sky

they're gazing
at the star spots
on my fur

that I am and
always will be
the wild

untamed
living spirit
of this jungle

Francisco X. Alarcon, "Jaguar" from Animal Poems of the Iguazu. Copyright © 2008 by Francisco X. Alarcon.  Reprinted by permission of Lee & Low Books.
 
Source: Animal Poems of the Iguazú (Lew & Low Books, 2008)
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Jaguar

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  • A prolific writer for adults and children, Francisco X. Alarcón was born in California and grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico. Alarcón returned to the United States to attend California State University at Long Beach, and he earned his MA from Stanford University. His collections of poetry for adults include Body in Flames/Cuerpo en llamas (1990); De amor oscuro/Of Dark Love (1991); Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation (1992), winner of the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation; From the Other Side of Night/Del otro lado de la noche: New and Selected Poems (2002); Ce Uno One: Poemas para el Nuevo Sol/Poems for the New Sun (2010); Borderless Butterflies: Earth Haikus and Other Poems/Mariposas sin fronteras: Haikus terrenales y otros poemas (2014); and Canto hondo/Deep Song (2015). 
     
    Latino and gay identity, mythology, the Nahuatl language, Mesoamerican history, and American culture are all portrayed in Alarcón’s writing. On a Fulbright fellowship to Mexico City in 1982,...

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