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VILLAESPESA, Francisco


Dream of the Caiman


Enormous log dragged by the wave—

caiman beached on the river shore:

backbone a broken cordillera,

formidable tail, jaws an abyss.


The sun wraps him in a dazzling aureole—

a seeming mail-coat and heraldry,

a metal monster who shimmers

and whose shimmering lays a sheen.


Unmoving as a sacred idol

girt in a mesh of compact steel,

he lies against the still, dark water


like an enchanted prince

who lives an eternal prisoner

of the river’s palace of glass.