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Queta's Song.

Nick Hill (*)

La revolucion sandinista, 1963-1990 (antes y despues)

Queta, an arpeggio in green,

feathers, leaves, and hope.

She lived up in the mangoes

on the Anden Ricardo Su.

When she saw the sun she sang

y se pensaba soprano, de la opera.

La diva de la revolucion que fue,

willful, early, and and strong,

quiet all evening long.

A towering morning glory of sound.

A veritable democracy of noise:

street vendors: tortiiyas, tortiiyas

and street walkers, puta, puta, puta,

radio announcers, horse whinnies,

domestic clinking, water gurgles.

Early morning squawker, complained

the contras across the way.

Queta sang out across the vecindad

the arco iris of vocal chords.

She took her post at the crack of dawn

and was silent as a switch by pan tostado.

Sounds welled up in her like a geyser

and she blew leaving no one sleeping still.

Una vertiente natural de jubilo matutino,

a feathered kettle with a whistle,

a beaked steam valve, a winged pipe organ,

green flute, Polly cracker band,

the exuberant claims of a barrio lothario,

your mother's shrill chiding to get up,

the neighbor's dental hygiene and gargle,

news of another earthquake, dogs and cats,

scales ascending and descending.

Then she'd break to crack some seeds,

review her script and start again.

Queta sang her own funeral oratorio

from a final perch on the family finca,

far from the UNO victory.

La revolucion, como quien dice,

fue donde la lora Queta.

(*.) Nick Hill was born in Chicago, grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and has lived in a number of different places in the Americas. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and teaches Latin American literature at Fairfield University. He has an award-winning poetry chapbook, Mundane Rites/Ritos mundanos, translations of various poets including Alvaro Mutis and Javier Campos, and Biography of a Runaway Slave and Rachel's Song (Curbstone Press), Miguel Barnet's testimonial novels. The author of a number of articles on Spanish-American poetry and theater, he also has a monograph on the poetry of Carlos German Belli. He lives in Fairfield, Connecticut, with his wife, Barbara Arnn, several struggling bonsai trees, and the scientific cat Darwin.
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Author:Hill, Nick
Publication:Bilingual Review
Article Type:Poem
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2000
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