by

questions, after Neruda
______________________________________________________

i.

do comets wag their tails at the sight of Titan
crossing the face of Jupiter?

do constellations contemplate ever changing places,
rearranging themselves, reconfiguring their positions
for the sake of something new?

is the constellation Sirius acquainted with a smile?
and will the Red Planet, like an injured eye, ever clear up?

does the Universe have corners
like a box full of galaxies turning endlessly
like the tiny wheels in a grandfather clock?

how long did the man who stole a pig stashed in a sack
take a rest on the dark side of the moon
before he vanished with his loot?

is thunder at night the stolen pig’s cry for help
or a giant gone astray in the mountains howling for his mother?

ii.

does Yellow try to keep its teeth from clattering at the sight of Black
and scurries off with its tail between its legs?

is Black a creature with deadly hooves,
or an unsettling presence with menacing eyes?
does it delight in striking fear in leaves and rendering them yellow?
does it ever have a benign spot?

does Blue like its face long, its music dolorous?
does it seek out solitude in rat-smelling rooms?
does smiling make it sick?
does laughter give it fatal convulsions?

does Red like being chased by bulls?
is it always choleric, ready to explode?
does it scald and seethe and threaten to kill?

is White forever spotless, the rare virgin sought
for offering to the gods?

is Green forever young, amateurish, untrained, artless?
or was it born with prurience on its mind?

iii.

is Orange sweet enough for ants?
or does it need more sugar to gain their attention?

is Silver always brimming with hope?
does it tinkle like wind chimes
or sparkle like points of light in the water?

and is Gray too old to care –
its bones brittle as dry leaves,
its heart a wrinkled valve?

(2002)

barbara barquez ricafrente, tales grandmother told (unpublished)

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