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This poem is taken from PN Review 256, Volume 47 Number 2, November - December 2020.

Two Poems Nilton Santiago
The Hermeneutics of a Snail

I bet a sunflower seed
that nobody knew that sheep don’t drink running water
or that, on average, a person has more than 1460 dreams each year.
It’s true, some owls seduce trees to get a smile out of the dead who dangle there or, simply, to swallow the tears that Baruch Spinoza shed
when he found out that all his philosophising on “the infinite divine substance”
(which for him was reality or God) was a load of tosh.
It’s true, life seems all too much like a Brecht production
and loneliness nips us at our fingertips
even if we’re passing through as zen-like monks or basil smoking screwballs.
Tell me, you, who is getting cold in my heart
and who refuses to leave the house without a high voltage kiss extinguisher
(an extinguisher may be as innocent as a wooden knife that goes back to the forest to attack the sawmills).
Following the same logic, I now think that the ocean you have under your bed
has all the manners as a cat, meaning, that whenever it feels like it,
it spits out bottles containing love messages as though they were a fur ball.

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