Ritmo/Rhythm

Mad has decided to catch a vulture,
the biggest bird she can find.
 
She is so determined, and so inventive,
that by stringing together a rickety trap
of ropes and sticks, she creates
a puzzling structure that just might
be clever enough to trick a buzzard,
once the trap’s baited with leftover pork
from supper.
 
Mad and I used to do everything together,
but now I need a project all my own,
so I roam the green fields,
finding bones.
 
The skull of a wild boar.
The jawbone of a mule.
 
Older cousins show me
how to shake the mule’s quijada,
to make the blunt teeth
rattle.
 
Guitars.
Drums.
Gourds.
Sticks.
 
A cow bell.
A washboard.
Pretty soon, we have
a whole orchestra.
 
On Cuban farms, even death
can turn into
music.
 

Margarita Engle, "Ritmo/Rhythm" from Enchanted Air.  Text copyright © 2015 by Margarita Engle.  Reprinted by permission of Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division. All rights reserved.
Source: Enchanted Air (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015)
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