Poetry Month

Search by Claribel Alegria

If my torch goes out it will be dark.
Dark like behind the eyes.
My trip with no way back
and this tunnel, my tomb.
A tunnel like a mother’s stomach.
Her identical architecture.
Her climate of signs and penumbra.
Through this labyrinth until finding it.
Through this stomach where rivers are born.
I won’t fear the crest of winters again,
nor the fallen jawbone.
In shadowy sanctuaries
they are building castles with my shells,
with dead butterflies and with leaves.

Someone waits in ambush.
He rips the dagger from my fingers
and turns it against me.
The two of us face each other down.
My hand glimmering.
His coat envelops me.
The same forehead.
Suddenly my eyes are drugged.
I thought he would be shaped like a serpent,
would be an insect.
Suddenly myself.
Will I make a tomb out of the tunnel?
Wind waits outside.
My disguises, my veils,
lie there, destroyed.
Will I be alone until death?
Each morning I will know it.

(from A Book of Women Poets, ed. Barnstone)

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