Today's poem is by Eduardo Chirinos, translated by G. J. Racz

Animals at My House

1) Rodents
I saw them at the Washington Zoo once.
Now they live around my house,

hidden below the ground
(there's a whole other city down there)
safe from the rain and the eagles.

They come out in the Spring,
first their snouts, then
their tiny hands
                          then their bodies
bolt upright like figures praying,
like people begging for forgiveness.

They look like squirrels
but never climb trees.

They live beneath the earth
and the sky could care less about them.

Yesterday the deer came down from the mountain
and stopped beneath my window.

I had never seen them up close before
with their darting
                              black eye, golden
pelts and ears
big and round like love,
like the tails they raise at the slightest sign of danger.

It's said that their tears
bewilder the devil, that their breath
frightens off dragons, that they rip apart
snakes so they can eat them later.

They're lovely, deer are.

Jannine and I invited them to supper
but the neighborhood kids kept shouting
until they finally woke their parents up

and the deer went away forever.

Copyright © 2004 G. J. Racz All rights reserved
from The Literary Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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