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By Francisco X. Alarcón

words

are birds

that arrive

with books

and spring


they

love

clouds

the wind

and trees


some words

are messengers

that come

from far away

from distant lands


for them

there are

no borders

only stars

moon and sun


some words

are familiar

like canaries

others are exotic

like the quetzal bird


some can stand

the cold

others migrate

with the sun

to the south


some words

die

caged—

they’re difficult

to translate


and others

build nests

have chicks

warm them

feed them


teach them

how to fly

and one day

they go away

in flocks


the letters

on this page

are the prints

they leave

by the sea


Francisco X. Alarcon, "Words are Birds" from Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems. Copyright © 1997 by Francisco X. Alarcon.  Reprinted by permission of Lee & Low Books.

Source: Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems (Lee & Low Books, 1997)

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

More By This Poet