By Victor Hernández Cruz
Is the ocean really inside seashells
or is it all in your mind?
—PICHON DE LA ONCE
Behold and soak like a sponge.
I have discovered that the island of Puerto Rico
is the ears of Saru-Saru, a poet reputed to have lived
in Atlantis. On the day that the water kissed and
embraced and filled all the holes of that giant
missing link, this bard’s curiosity was the greatest
for he kept swimming and listening for causes.
He picked up rocks before they sank and blew
wind viciously into them. Finally he blew so hard
into a rock that he busted his ear drums; angry,
he recited poems as he tried turning into a bird
to fly to green Brazil. His left ear opened up
like a canal and a rock lodged in it. Rock attracts
rock and many rocks attached to this rock. It got
like a rocket. His ear stayed with it in a horizontal
position. Finally after so many generations he got
to hear what he most wanted: the sounds made by flowers
as they stretched into the light. Behold, I have
discovered that the island of Puerto Rico is the
ears of Saru-Saru.
Victor Hernández Cruz, "Here Is an Ear Hear" from Maraca: New and Selected Poems, 1965-2000. Copyright © 2001 by Victor Hernandez Cruz. Reprinted with the permission of Coffee House Press. www.coffeehousepress.org.
Source: Maraca: New and Selected Poems 1965-2000 (Coffee House Press, 2001)
More By This Poet
Two guitars were left in a room all alone
They sat on different corners of the parlor
In this solitude they started talking to each other
My strings are tight and full of tears
The man who plays me has no heart
I have seen...
More Poems about Arts & Sciences
The Racist Bone
I know this is a real thing, because
When I was a kid, my big sister took me
To the Capitol Theater, in my hometown
Of Rochester, NY,
And there was a movie that afternoon,
The Tingler, which starred Vincent Price,
And what I remember best...
The Last Word
I am a door of metaphor
waiting to be opened.
You’ll find no lock, no key.
All are free to enter, at will.
Simply step over the threshold.
Remember to dress for travel, though.
Visitors have been known
to get carried away.Illustration by Shadra Strickland
More Poems about Mythology & Folklore
Fairy Tale with Laryngitis and Resignation Letter
You remember the mermaid makes a deal,
her tongue evicted from her throat,
and moving is a knife-cut with every step.
This is what escape from water means.
Dear Colleagues, you write, for weeks
I’ve been typing this letter in the bright
kingdom of my imagination....
We gathered in a field southwest of town,
several hundred hauling coolers
and folding chairs along a gravel road
dry in August, two ruts of soft dust
that soaked into our clothes
and rose in plumes behind us.
By noon we could discern their massive coils