Victor Hernandez Cruz


Griffin Poetry Prize 2002
International Shortlist

Book: Maraca New and Selected Poems 1965-2000

Poet: Victor Hernández Cruz

Publisher: Coffee House Press

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Victor Hernández Cruz reads Problems with Hurricanes

Problems with Hurricanes, by Victor Hernández Cruz

Problems with Hurricanes

A campesino looked at the air
And told me:
With hurricanes it’s not the wind
or the noise or the water.
I’ll tell you he said:
it’s the mangoes, avocados
Green plantains and bananas
flying into town like projectiles.

How would your family
feel if they had to tell
The generations that you
got killed by a flying

Death by drowning has honor
If the wind picked you up
and slammed you
Against a mountain boulder
This would not carry shame
to suffer a mango smashing
Your skull
or a plantain hitting your
Temple at 70 miles per hour
is the ultimate disgrace.

The campesino takes off his hat –
As a sign of respect
toward the fury of the wind
And says:
Don’t worry about the noise
Don’t worry about the water
Don’t worry about the wind –
If you are going out
beware of mangoes
And all such beautiful
sweet things.

From Maraca New and Selected Poems 1965-2000, by Victor Hernández Cruz
Copyright © 2001 Victor Hernández Cruz

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