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Rigoberto González


It's no curse

dragging my belly across

the steaming sand all day.

I'm as thick as a callus

that has shorn off its leg.


If you find me I can explain

the trail made by a single limb.


I am not a ghost.

Do not be afraid.


Though there are ghosts here-

they strip down to wind

or slump against rock to evaporate.


Sometimes I crawl beneath the shedding,

backing up into the flesh pit for shade.

Praise the final moisture of the mouth, its crown

of teeth that sparkles with silver or gold.


I make a throne of the body

until it begins to decay.


And then I'll toss the frock-

death by hunger, death by heat-

off the pimples of my skin.


Don't you dare come into my kingdom,

peasant, without paying respect on your knees!


What generous act did I commit

in my previous life, that I should be

rewarded with this paradise:


a garden in which every tree that takes root here

drops its fruit eye-level to me.


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