Canta de mí Sangre



Creek bed: clear green
washes all stones
un-rough in smooth grip

when the light
spills and it is

mid-week, no one is aware
skins shed. Trees strip
slipping off garments
well-worn, hampers piled high
fallen secrets left

un-hidden. The afternoon
appears in front
of a hallow sky.
I follow the trail and cross

the fresh and fragile fungi,
which want to compete with
the trees.

Our harvest sun
more like a god
cupped in cosmos.

Trains and an impatient phone, fast,
hum, unrelenting. And buzzard call

all drowned out in the rush
of an endless waterfall.


The Learned Pig



In that cradle of trees, leaves,
were sienna, golden, alight.

I witnessed the wind, how
softly it would rock the branches,

lullabies, from afar. The stream was
an eager audience in cleft earth,

its appraisal I longed to match.
Without judgement, without concern

without fear of flooding over.
I listened for a music I could

understand, like lyrics
the forest offered a chorus

of hidden wildlife, the mountain’s back
supporting them, loud enough to hear

not see. I tried to match the tone
but my voice froze each time

my mouth opened. I listened for
words I could catch, so many

falling leaves, heard the branches
drop their notes. In that cradle of

trees, I discovered I was part
of that rhythm, this piece was

composed long ago. I paused
and hoped to be baptised

for the trees to lift me up and
swaddle me in song,

then bring the evening home
letting the low stars dance with me.


The Learned Pig


Canta de mí Sangre | Song of my Blood

The day my Caribbean aunt
heavily accented
peered at me and said

you’re not Latina,
did I boil like arroz
or salted yucca, tough to resist?

A lifetime, I’ve paraded you-
your pulse, pumping beneath my olive skin,
revealing everything.

I’ve been told you’re too high,
beta blockers to slow the flow
steal the rhythm of my step

see, the sun is red,
the streets are white and the veins blue
in other words, you were born here

and you’re different than us,
I swallow this large pill
diluting what flows through me.

Wash away my aunt’s words
who only cooks Colombian food
high in fat and carbs,

I eat it up hungrily,
attempting to digest enough
to return to my natural state.


The Learned Pig



Madré, your language is full of exotic sounds
With each sound you produce, I hear something else.
I am a part of you, and part
Of a place you’ll never be able to pronounce. In the kitchen
When you’ve shared that space with me,
Recipes are revealed like unsent letters from the past,
I ask, how, do you separate the plantain from its husk—
Have I missed something in translation?
Although it’s clear to you. But still I need to know
the secret behind the preparation, how you peeled it all away.
“Well,” you tell me, “swiftly, not to bruise the fruit.”
Tender, I stand next to you, unable to comprehend your actions.


The Learned Pig


Cover image ‘Ernst Haeckel’s Jellyfish’ via Public Domain Review

This is part of RHYTHM, a section of The Learned Pig devoted to exploring rhythm as individual and collective, as poetic and biological, and the ways that rhythm dictates life. RHYTHM is conceived and edited by Rachel Goldblatt.


The Learned Pig


TAK Erzinger

TAK Erzinger is an American/Swiss poet and artist with a Colombian background. Her debut poetry collection, Found: Between the Trees is a chronicle about a life interrupted by mental illness. Its poems are a reflection of how love, nature and hiking nurtured and fostered an injured soul suffering from acute-childhood trauma and PTSD, leading to a path of redemption. Her poetry has been published by The Curlew, The Cirrus Poetry Review, The Beautiful Space Journal, The Mojave He[art] Review, The Avocet, the I-70 review, The Rising Phoenix Review and more. Last year TAK began a walking pilgrimage on the St. Jacob’s Way through Switzerland. She lives in a Swiss valley with her husband and two cats.