Las Lloronas

A very old poem, a popular Duende Project piece, and one for Bastille Day and all of us who suspect we might need to protect ourselves against predators very, very soon.

 years of watching

 nature shows

 and I still can’t answer this question:


 given the opportunity

 will a predator

 kill two at once?


 imagine: somewhere

 in central america

 a jaguar is striving for a personal best


 and prays (in whatever way

 that big cats pray) that the kinkajous

 fooling about on the forest floor


 will stay still long enough

 for him to take both with one

 velvet razor swipe


 but he is thwarted when

 one sees him waiting and lets out

 a quavering cry


 (this is why they call the kinkajou

 la llorona

 the weeping woman)


 and when the two

 scratch their way up a tree

 leaving the jaguar behind to curse


 (in whatever way jaguars curse)

 they weep with joy and perhaps

 snicker at the loser below


 imagine at night that las lloronas

 the weeping women

 honey bears of the canopy


 tell stories to each other

 of all the death they’ve avoided

 at the jaws and paws of would-be overachievers


 pausing now and then to whisper

 of the ones who fell alone

 and unwarned


 there is strength in numbers

 they tell each other

 the jaguars can only kill us when we forget that


 so can a predator

 kill more than one at one time?

 las lloronas say si


 but only

 when we
 let it happen 


Link to a Duende Project recording of the piece with Steven Lanning-Cafaro on guitar: Las Lloronas   

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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