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Poem of the Week

Cuenca, Ecuador


a streak of sun wakes us

into wonder. we quietly breathe southern air


I go for a walk



a bowl they call a platter

a cup they call a vase


it's not mine—yet 

the white enclosed feel of the fog


3 pale blue domes of the New Cathedral

every morning a different delicate color


hooped roof tiles in shades of

pink, beige, copper, dusty, rust, khaki, brown


that somehow add up to red

earth tones, they say


but no earth I've ever seen

& small dark perfect people


boys wrapped with boys, girls with girls

a madre says no soda


& her little one snatches

her hand away


without a second joking reach

no tears, no complaint


only European-tinged women have gray hair

pajaros & clouds


an orange on a platter

I sit in a church not mine


in a country & religion not mine

Jesus in a tutu made of light


will Cuenca become mine? 

through food, love or a photo that I belong to


it was neither a noise nor a movement

or it was both! a little earthquake


the clouds the sun my recognizing eyes

change them charge them


our wealth is in time to stroll

we outdo each other in being pleased


the delicious fruit chirimuya

agua de pitimas, drink of a thousand flowers


& it's 3 in the afternoon

or 4 in the afternoon



August 2019

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Hernan Illiscas

Dream of Life, but really of death. Complicated & endless absorbing. By Hernan Illiscas.

I’ve fallen for this Cuencan artist. He was responsible for the mural I like so much & today we went to his gallery, the first floor of his home. His wife showed us around, including some wonderful drawings on rice paper, both tender & forceful. I was too shy to ask prices. If I couldn’t afford them, my hopes would be forever dashed, & if I could, I would have to decide among so many that I liked. He also has a group of 8 murals at the Hall of Justice, right off Parque Calderon, so we trotted over there. The big picture, in each case, is striking, & the details are intricate & evocative. 

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