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Prayer for Vicente

The law
chained your neck to a river,
laughed as you choked on legislature,
sunk from Argentina
                like a scuttled barge.

Poetic amphibian,
brain mud and algae,
what do you think of perched
on the hood of a firebombed
Mercedes—do you regret
your low-roofed church
full of children singing, the blind choristerís
                gentle rat which danced for seed corn
fox-stepping from its cedar box?

The holy annex is now off-limits
and crowded with contraband,
the purple mistflower crushed
into jeep-tracks by the new guardhouse:
flowers as hopeless in their simple color
                as the mandates of Nietzsche.

Ah, Vicente, as tarpon nuzzle your eyes
do you remember the boy soldier Acosta
who supplied and lit your last cigarette?
He had no boots,
you laughed at his big brown feet
while generals with toupees
pinched foreign whores
                and dined with cardinals.

Printed in the Spring/Summer 1999 issue of CLR

Fernand Roqueplan

Fernand Roqueplan works as an interpreter for social services, Dept. of Labor & Industries, Olympia, and, seasonally, as a steelhead fishing guide. He has published with Indiana Review, Green Mountains Review, Talking River Review, Texas Review, Florida Review, Borderlands, Event, Wisconsin Review, Manhattan Review, and the Brownstone Review.

You can find Fernand Roqueplan on the web at:
—  Mudlark
—  Wired Hearts
—  Rattle
—  Philomel
—  Zuzu's Petals

Published by Clackamas Literary Review, in print and on the web at,, and
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