Calaveras are small poems that are often political in nature and are common during the celebration of Dias de Los Muertos. Because early in the week, I wrote a piece that included Donald Trump having a nightmare (that undocumented people can vote), my teacher decided to have me try a couple of stanzas out about him. It was easy to find words that rhymed with hands and hair and, believe it or not, avarice, but I had to bury xenophobia and racism within the lines. The results were passable, nothing inspired.

The homework, then, was to practice the calaveras in their other form, between colleagues or friends with an exaggeration of virtues or characteristics. Thus, my teacher requested one about us. Harder than I anticipated. Much harder.

I’m starting with the Spanish:

Heather es una profesora con pelo gris.
Angeles es una estrella bella, una actriz
quien puede llevar los papeles de princesa o catrina.
Y Heather puede ser una pepinilla.

Heather is a professor with gray hair.
Angeles is a beautiful star, an actress
who can play the roles of princess or catrina.
And Heather could be a pickle.

  • Try out a calavera: see guidelines above, and it should be at least a four-line stanza with end rhyme (and internal rhyme, if you can manage that as well).

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