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Arroz con Son y Clave

Willie Perdomo

My father used to leave sharp sounds
By the door, steady conga heads were
Rare. When you party with grown-ups,
You learn not to suffer dancers a weak
Hand; otherwise a safe return to silence
Becomes less of a road—no yesterday.
The great readers, he would say, quote
From the kitchen. Yes, chops—cook,
Steam like jabs, stories, walls that sob
I’m sorry. In the middle of a sacrifice,
Death always has a shape to introduce:
Breath deflates & balloons a club like
An amateur soul drowning in whisper.