by Eduardo Chirinos
In days of old, buffalo dotted the plains
with a soft, light brown.
Their hooves fearlessly trampled these pastures.
This was their home, their vast
dominion no one dared profane.
In the summers
they migrated north, where the sun dies down,
and in the winters headed south
where the stars subside.
I saw some buffalo on the way out to Montana,
distant, mythic buffalo expecting a stampede,
a cackling of birds, a war cry.
If there was ever a God in these lands,
He would have had the head of a buffalo.
Eduardo Chirinos was an internationally acclaimed voice in Latin American letters and the author of ﬁfteen books of poetry as well as volumes of academic criticism, numerous essays, translations, children’s books, and occasional pieces. He was born in Lima, in 1960, studied Hispanic linguistics, acquiring a bachelor's degree from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, and a PhD in literature.
He was a professor in the department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at the University of Montana, specializing in Latin American Literature, Modernism, Avant-Garde, Spanish and Latin American Contemporary Poetry. "Buffalo" was published in his collection titled Written in Missoula.
Eduardo Chirinos died in February 2016 after a five-year battle with cancer.