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By Francisco X. Alarcón

some say

I’m now almost

extinct in this park

but the people

who say this

don’t know

that by smelling

the orchids

in the trees

they’re sensing

the fragrance

of my chops

that by hearing

the rumbling

of the waterfalls

they’re listening

to my ancestors’

great roar

that by observing

the constellations

of the night sky

they’re gazing

at the star spots

on my fur

that I am and

always will be

the wild


living spirit

of this jungle

Francisco X. Alarcon, "Jaguar" from Animal Poems of the Iguazu. Copyright © 2008 by Francisco X. Alarcon.  Reprinted by permission of Lee & Low Books.

Source: Animal Poems of the Iguazú (Lew & Low Books, 2008)

Poet Bio

Francisco X. Alarcón
A prolific writer for adults and children, Francisco X. Alarcón was born in California and grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico. Alarcón returned to the United States to attend California State University at Long Beach, and he earned his MA from Stanford University. Latino and gay identity, mythology, the Nahuatl language, Mesoamerican history, and American culture are all portrayed in Alarcón’s writing. He served as director of the Spanish for Native Speakers Program at the University of California at Davis, and taught for the Art of the Wild workshop and the California Poets in the Schools program.  See More By This Poet

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