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April 2005

Afternoon again swirls
            with clouds low
                        smothering Pichincha*
& thunder rumbles
            down gullied slopes
Into the centuries-
            old plazas
The new evening pulsed
            with lightning
                        & more demonstrations
All that remain
            beneath the hazy
                        crescent moon
Are the armored police
            teargas canisters, air still acrid
                        & smoldering debris fires
Banners hang from the cathedral
            vigilers sit on candlelit steps
& on a street corner
            a greyed woman preaches
                        the Apocalypse
Another night dawns
            heavy grey nimbus
The town center eerie
            guarded by cloud-
Camouflaged soldiers beyond
            coils of concertina
The week passes
            with rains & the rumbles
                        of people in the streets
From the north barrios
            & from the south
Marching, chanting, beating pots
            through the toxic clouds
& one day​
            they march again
                        echoing through this valley
& that day
            they break the barriers
                        pull concertina aside
Flooding the plaza
            declaring a new independence
As the president flees
            copter chopping the thundering sky
& then the rain breaks
            to wash away the teargas
                        & ashes of fires
*Pichincha — The volcano upon whose slopes Quito is built 


Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. Her work appears in over 250 journals on six continents, and 18 collections of poetry including On Galápagos Shores (dancing girl press, 2019) and Escape to the Sea (Origami Poems Project, 2021). She also authors travel narratives, articles and guidebooks. In 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada honored her verse. Caputo has done over 200 literary readings, from Alaska to the Patagonia. She travels through Latin America, listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth. Follow her travels at: and  

© 2021, Lorraine Caputo

2 comments on “Quito Storms, by Lorraine Caputo

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