Las Nicas


Las nicas wear their beauty lightly,

like a boa’s tatooed skin,

like a tuna’s silver scales,

moving their lithe bodies

with a grace as natural as

the swaying palms

El  Buen Pastor, they say,

passed this way, disguised

as an itinerant painter,

and left in each pueblito,

among the gardens and the flowers,

his finest portraits,

penciling in the perfect brows,

the hair of black silk,

the teeth of white linen,

mixing the pigments for the flesh,

pink, burnt siena, yellow ochre,

until they glowed with the warmth

of the tropical sun,

reserving the small brush for the eyes,

which he made more tender

than a lover’s touch,

seeing straight into your heart.


And then the portraits came to life

and there was you.



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