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January 9, 2017

Sasicos have obligatory rules for civility. Any Sasico who raises his voice is automatically turned into a toad. So is any Sasico who walks on the grass. And there are always some foreigners who–inadvertently but ruedly–cut in the front of Sasico line, and they, too, are turned into toads.

Punishment is always automatic, thanks to a retaliation gas mixed into the atmosphere of Sasico lands and oceans.

The Sasico Queen wears a red tunic, fringed with fluffy white fur. The cape seems very heavy, and is long enough to reach her feet. She also wears a gold crown with white incrustations shaped like the sun.

The Queen doesn’t have the power to punish anyone; the punishment gas takes care of that. But of all Sasicos, she is the only one who can turn toads into blue princes.

Consequently, whenever robust and elegant blue princes are needed to work in mines or jackhammer streets, the Sasico Queen kisses as many toads as necessary.

–Dario Jaramillo Agudelo, 2012. Tr Don Share

COMMENTARY: Dario Agudelo is a Columbian poet who was brought to the attention of the Anglaphone world by Don Share (currently the editor of Poetry Magazine) translating a number of his prose poems in 2012. This poem is from a collection called Field Guide–a short, whimsical book about various imaginary alien tribes. There might be a socialist moral lurking in here somewhere, but I find the image of the elegant blue princes jackhammering the streets, thanks to the queen’s toad-kissing, to be hilarious.

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