yuquiyu would have been the Taino name
of a secretive place
like this one
where tame human voices
in the wild presence
here there's a natural form
of listening so fervent
that even the most feathery whispers
of invisible beings
can be overheard and almost
About the Author: Margarita Engle is a botanist, agronomist, and the Cuban–American author of Singing to Cuba (Arte Publico Press), Skywriting (Bantam), and The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography in Poems of Juan Francisco Manzano (Henry Holt, April 2006), a Junior Library Guild Selection. Her work has appeared in Atlanta Review, California Quarterly, Caribbean Writer, Thema, and Word Wings, a collection of poems for children (Elin Grace Publishing). Her most recent book The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano (Henry Holt, 2006) is a beautiful biography told in verse of a remarkable Cuban poet born into slavery in 1797.
"A Garden in Cuba" copyright © 2004 by Margarita Engle. The poem first appeared in Homestead Review (2004) and may not be reproduced in any form without the author's express written permission.