Dia de los Muertos: Conversations

There are the marigolds bunched to earth with flounces of amarillo, castanets on their sepals, dust narnaja on the garden fingers where little bones baille on headstones and sugar teeth are azul.  There are the sombreros negra laced with silver, pumpkin seed pearls bleached blanca, cinnamon and manzanas rojas.  There are the little bones turned of dust, noon or sunset, la noche y la mañana, little bones turned of dust.  They become the trickle that feeds stones and sheep with song.  When they laugh, the wind sighs and silences, sighs and silences like bells hung on a new moon when la bruja’s skirts flash past.
        The Lady of the Dead is dust and whispers to dust, telling them who sits with marigolds blossoming from their chests.  She loves the sighs and silences between fists and bowls of grain, how the grain plays armónica, y el perro thumps la pandereta, and all the little bones dance. 
        When did marigolds learn flamenco?  When did they don castanets?  When did I hear the little bones singing on their way to dust?  The child girl with ears as long as a truck has climbed up the ribs of the woman to hear what she heard at one.  And a smaller child, who nests inside, has climbed up the ladder of neck to hear the bells toll on.   
        I will hear them talking, one speck of bone to the next, and the next, and then they will turn to me, me with my azul teeth, me with my marigold skirts y camisas rojas, me with blossoms amarillos floating over this cabeza del azúcar where loco thoughts once curled, and we will dance, the way little bones dance, until we are singing water, dew on the bells of the moon.


Review: The Book of Fables, W.S. Merwin

If you read for escape and with not a lot of time to sink into a long work, then Merwin’s The Book of Fables is the place to go. It’s like a gated play yard for the imagination to spend its recess time. You can climb on a spinning yarn and be dazzled as the landscape whirls by, or you can go through the ups and downs of a see-saw ride, or pick up a question from a grassy expanse, roll it in your hand, and set it back down with some of W.S. Merwin’s insights rubbed off to your palms. His fables run from a sentence or two, to a bare quarter page, to as long as perhaps a dozen pages. I have not read a single one so far that didn’t provide the brief escape that I needed in the moment from the everyday humdrum. Merwin has a wondrous imagaination and way with the written word; I only wish he had been recommended to me earlier.