Against the Flying Serpents
If I had never existed, what would stand
in my place? More lilies or roses?
Dulce María Loynaz, “Digression”
In my place a new river.
A new snake wriggles out of the mud bottom of the river,
mouth sore from the bulging sac of venom.
In my place more ibises,
the birds that Moses launched against the flying serpents, according to Josephus,
that the Egyptians launched against the flying serpents, according to Pliny the Elder,
sacred missiles, fighting chronicles.
a termite colony in a grand piano.
Green fire on a brick wall. Film of ash on the drinking glass.
Peacocks singing in the Botanic Garden.
If you had never existed, you had never existed,
the sky at night chides.
There would be no place to fill.
If I had never existed, I would have to be made up,
like a name for the light that streams through a keyhole in an old house
and flaps its wings.
Who ever believe a sky without keyholes called stars?