Medieval shepherds wore stilts
for a view of wandering flocks.
Soldiers in trenches read maps
by the light of writhing glow-worms.
The art of appreciating stones is learned
by climbing high mountain peaks
in search of one fragment of rock
broken by water and scoured by wind
until it is shaped
like a high mountain peak.
Margarita Engle is a botanist and the Cuban-American author of Singing to Cuba (Arte Publico Press) and Skywriting, a novel of Cuba (Bantam). Shorter works appear in a wide variety of journals, such as Atlanta Review, California Quarterly, and The Caribbean Writer. Awards include a Cintas Fellowship and a San Diego Book Award. Books pending publication include a young adult novel-in-verse (Henry Holt & Co.), and a collection of poems for children (Elin Grace Publ.). Margarita lives in central California , where she enjoys hiking and helping her husband with his volunteer work for a wilderness search-and-rescue dog training program.