Snow Cones from the Old Carnivals

The scenery for eyes he'd seen with eyes,
como los nogales ya crecidos,
the smell of smells, the press of Oaxacan jazz

with nose, with ears; he'd eaten flavored snow,
antes, los raspados eran fuertes,
had put it in his mouth and sprayed that gold

all ice all over everything, the dress
mango, platano, ciruela, coco,
it was his mother's best.  But hulls of ice

were now like skins that animals have known,
pero ya me siento bien cansado,
banana skins of snakes, their juices gone

like his, like eating colors, sucking blues
lengua torpe, ojos ya nublosos.
to gray and then to nothing, getting old.

These nights had come, when color wasn't loud.
Edad tiene el sabor de latas.
The ice now turned a black inside his mouth,

just cold, just night, in which some crowbirds sat
"¡Come ya!"  Soy viejo, y me hacen.
and he could see them seeing him, could taste

the flavor of their stares, their wanting him.
¡Vengan pajaros!  Les doy mis ojos.
He'd spit it out again and then again,

but this one night he tongued those pepper crows,
Son azules.  Hasta un animal
and ate the ice that was their eyes: they'd know

the dark inside him, and he began to crawl.
debe probar el sabor de algo.

        From Five Indiscretions (Sheep Meadow: New York,

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