Abaniko

in Filipino it means “fan,”
the same thing in Basque
a ream of paper, card stock,
hand-painted, or short roll of cloth,
even of Belgian lace, folded
these many times and bound
to an armature of
bamboo or sandalwood
that allows for the abaniko’s
unfolding, folding,
opening and closing like
a peacock’s tail

how evocative the abaniko is
of old Latin Sunday masses
when my mother and her aunts,
their heads covered with black veils,
their missals open, fanned themselves
while the priest rambled on

the word “fan” does not
quite capture the slight
breeze the abaniko
summons nor the imagined
sound of castanets clicking
as a flamenco dancer prepares
to enter center stage


In response to a writing prompt from Luisa A. Igloria:

On the unusual sea creatures site that I found, the Pink See-through Fantasia is described thus: “Its name makes it sound like a piece of sexy lingerie, but don’t be fooled: The pink see-through fantasia is a sea cucumber, found about a mile and a half deep in the Celebes Sea in the western Pacific (east of Borneo).”

Select the name of an unusual object or creature from a source of your choice (botany? anatomy textbook? geophysics text? plumbing manual?) Write a poem about a person/experience that might come to mind from this first trigger provided by the suggestive quality or sound of this name.

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