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Rhina P. Espaillat

Posted by admin on February 20, 2012

Rhina P. Espaillat has published her work in numerous magazines and over fifty anthologies, in both English and her native Spanish, as well as three chapbooks and eight full-length books. Her most recent are a poetry collection in English, Her Place in These Designs (Truman State University Press, Kirksville, 2008), and a bilingual collection of her short stories, El olor de la memoria/The Scent of Memory (Ediciones CEDIBIL, Santo Domingo, D. R., 2007).  


For the Lady in the Black Raincoat

Who Slept through an Entire Poetry Reading


I see you clearly from the dais,

hunched over in row seven, snoozing,

as if to prove the poet’s way is

no easy cruising.


The Muse has sent us out to find you:

our words are meant as flare and rocket.

But how are we to spot the mind you

stuff in sleep’s pocket?


Would I be right if I supposed

if we were better you’d awaken?

Or is the house we’ve come to closed

and quite forsaken?


It’s just that kind of day, I know:

chill rain outside; inside, dry heat,

some dozen poets speaking low,

a comfy seat.


We’ve all been there, done as you do;

it may be rude, but not unlawful.

And then, while some are good, it’s true

some poems are awful.


Truce, then: you promise not to snore,

I’ll whisper to preserve your sleeping.

Let’s wish each other nothing more

than dreams worth keeping.