Silent Dragon

Rafael Acevedo

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Translated from Spanish by Erica Mena

          in Borges, in origami

          Unfortunately
the last dragon travels the streets of Tokyo
trailing a wake of escaped paper,
thinking about the future of the yen.
It has no fire left in its mouth for the poor,
or maybe the devil took the last bit of fire
for his sulfur house.
          Why say unfortunately?
Because the dragon is the answer to a question
of folded paper. Lend an ear to a story
to fill it with coins that bite
and speak
and then you’ll understand the importance of dragons
with their folding mis-dubbed voices.

          But now there’s only cut paper
bought with printed money, wandering
the streets of countries full of colored lights.
          What’s there to be sad about?
If a fish dissolves and gifts its scales
or an admiral suddenly breaks course
or a fire cooks the sky crimson,
no one will believe the story
if it’s not for sale and accepts cards.
No one trades a mustard seed
for a story.
A word is enough to revive
any dragon’s breath and its answers,
the word “l a m e n t a b l e”
for example, that lames its mental in ears.

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