Lake Effect, Spring 2003, Volume 7: The Word

Rodrigo Rojas


The Word

I found the word long before I could pronounce it.
In a dream with a lantern. No,
it was a dream with a spider inside a matchbox.
I was a kid putting fire crackers in the box.
My hands lit the fuse and dark,
dark flames whispered in my ears.
I was being studied by death and hidden by its shadow.
From the cardboard coffin, the crouching spider said something
before the explosion:
“I am leaving you in terror.”
The scattered body of the spider formed a pattern to decode,
a line that could be read if the limbs were brought together:
“So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”
     How could I understand?
          My eyes were open
               the lantern extinguished
                    and the word crematorium
                         coiled upon my tongue.