Old Rhinoceros Face Comes
Old rhinoceros face comes to her
in love, though he is from another star and she
is a plump, heavy-jowled gardener
always on her knees, breasts hanging down,
dressed in two or three shirts,
who speaks only Spanish.
Every day he comes to her,
ridiculous in his hot-blue spacesuit,
and brings her flowers
which she has never seen before.
Pinwheels and double-diamonds, half-hearts and bubbles,
hanging ivy which floats, hydrogen in the peduncles,
plants with crude, petal-blue eyes,
ones that sing like birds from their thick, brick pots.
She cries, "Vaya, vaya," spurns them all,
but still he comes.
She shakes her coal-black hair, wipes dust from her cheek.
He swings his arm around in circles.
He has no elbows.
Inside the crystal helmet his crinkled grey skin
grows white as he raises his voice. He implores her,
bends down on a joint which is not a knee,
but she is firm.
"Nunca," to his proposal, "nunca" to other planets,
to gray-green skies, gnarled constellations,
to broken moons of silver, rings like a crown
-- "no, nunca" to spires on spaceships, to hopeless romance.
She is too old for all that
though, once, when he tried to give her a rose,
- Originally published in Beyond magazine
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