Zulma Quiñones Senati


Zulma Quiñones Senati


Ship In Distress


It is midnight and my soul

soars into the emptiness

of a universe that floats

like a lost ship in despair

rushing waves to nowhere.


Only that persistent hoot

of an ever-vigilant owl

breaks the silence aloof

making my feelings sprout.

The rhythm deafens loud.


Midnight, the clock stroke

twelve chimes in a long row.

My mind wanders as if lost

in a strange forest of thoughts

that mingle and mix, it is coarse.


Will I ever get through the mist

and clear my mysterious mind?

I certainly will, I heard the wind

whisper it in my very ears bright.

Someday, but not this midnight.




Midnight Memories


A foggy veil shields nightfall, It pierces white star-shaped voids

in the firmament and brightens our lives, even in the midst of a dark night.

Sparks in the sadness they torch.

The realm of silence pulls memories from the sphere of our minds,

as a strike of a match or lightning clears the darkness of the sky.


I cannot know  why our meditations emerge at midnight.

Possibly our minds, tired of the weary of daytime,

want to wander on the busy trails of memory and its quicksand.

Reminiscences hang from the eyelids like spiderwebs.

Sometimes like a nightmare, they get tangled and twisted.


It was shortly after midnight when I  learned you had died.

The stars dimmed their lights.  My screams flooded the house.

A heavy, inconceivable sorrow descended as a mournful persistent knell.

My thoughts morphed into owls hooting repeatedly inside my soul.

How could your smile disappear? Where had your embraces gone?


I was far away that tragic midnight.  It is a bad dream, I thought.

Before my eyes you reappeared, as a hologram in the moonlight.

All I could sense were heavy tears rushing down like a swollen river.

Oh mama, your sudden loss shatters my spirit! You were so happy,

still youthful, healthy and full of love. Death had come too soon.

Tonight the air has your scent. You live in my thoughts.




Lethal Attraction


I can feel the ethereal kiss

of that nocturnal butterfly.

On my table lamp it sits

attracted to the bright light.

Slightly, it touches my cheek 

with its frail, but strong wings.

Does it know it is midnight?

Solitude sparkles in my mind.


Perhaps it is trying to spring

into my thoughts, to discover

what lies beneath my sorrow

but my mind is under cover.

I try my best to forewarn her:

Stay away from the flames!

They burn, you will be hurt

you will perish in that place.


But the light is so vivid, so bright!

My words she cannot understand.

Poor being, to her death she flies.

Flutters, then falls into my hands.

I know that feeling, that attraction.

It encircles us, like an old gnome

full of magic and distraction

that can lead to our downfall.




ZULMA QUIÑONES SENATI was born in Yauco, Puerto Rico. She studied at the Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce, where she completed her bachelor's degree in Education in 1970. Has written De mariposa a crisálida (2001), La barca en el tiempo (2005), El rostro oculto (2008) in narrative and Este sendero conmigo (2013), Fragilidad de vidrio soplado (2018), Piel de almendra (2019) and Alas de Colibrí (2020) in poetry. Several of her stories and poems have been awarded in national and international competitions and published in Anthologies in Spain, Argentina, Greece, Puerto Rico and other countries. She has coordinated the International Festival of Poetry and Art Grito de Mujer in Puerto Rico for the last eleven years.

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