Ten Answers to a Question

“What has been dark and rich and warm all over?” – W. H. Auden, “The Hard Question”

A pair of emperor penguins
keeping their chick warm
in winter.

The period at the end
of a question mark
that hooks you into a mystery
and refuses to let go.

Dregs of tea leaves rolled
into a ball by moisture,
its effervescence the smell of a wet dog.

The slow slipping of hands and feet
into light. A slap ignites the cry.

Scraping that last bit
of burnt rice off
the edge of
the claypot.

Congealed blood, the one
that tells you the cancer has passed
and the toxin has been purged.

The piquant peppercorn
soaking the essence of soup,
basking in the light
of a thousand
fluorescent lamps.

The time between a smile
and uninterrupted laughter.

The soaked shiitake
that blooms even after death,
longing for sweet smells.

These hands that will hold you
and stroke your jet black hair
and say you’re delicious
no matter which way your hair
curls.

Crispin Rodrigues is a poet and educator. His poems have been published in A Luxury We Must Afford (Math Paper Press) and From Walden to Woodlands (Ethos Books). His debut collection of poems, Pantomime, will be published in 2018. He is currently working on his second collection of poems.

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