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Espiritu
By Cristina Querrer

Rub that tiger balm on aching dreams.
Light the mosquito repellent at night
and surround your bed
with the mosquito net,
which cannot protect you
from those people of the past.

When one dies, they say,
dead names can never be spoken,
for the jealous spirits shall dance
in the delight for things of the living;
even for the matchbox
that sat on your nightstand,
just in case you woke up at night
during one of those city brownouts
and you needed a light to see your way out
of your childhood.

And the Haitian man you once loved
shared his spirit stories with you
under the ceiling fan.
You wonder if he made you love him
by his legitimate magic.
For
his island recipes
are now mixed in
-- not far removed
from yours. For he knows of papaya
and passion fruit, as well as you do.

Though when others see--
they see dark and light, no common strand
which is visible to the soul.

If I die now, I tell you not to keep my hair,
but my poetry. You may speak my name
every now-and-then,
so I may play with the matchbox
or the venetian blinds while you sleep.
If you hear me, you will know I have loved you.




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Document last modified on: 01/23/2000

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