In Her Eyes

My daughter has eyes like Brazilian coffee So dark that when she looks upward they reflect the sky. “Oh look!” they say, “Her eyes are turning blue! How wonderful!” “Mmmm…” I say. Not really. Her hair began a dark cloud and is brightening to the sunny brown of my childhood. “Oh look!” they say, “She’s…

Swisschard

The seeds sat mixed among a display of ordinary local vegetables. Taste of my homeland summers I clutched them to my heart, hand-carried them to the register, and brought them home from that distant supermarket. I hoard each seed. I’ll probably never get any more. We are kindred souls, my swisschard and I. Not born…

Día de matanza

By request, this post is a translation of a poem that appeared a few months ago.  Susana, so sorry it has taken me so long!  Also thanks to Sandra, who helped proofread my wilting Spanish.   Junto ramas secas bajo un cielo de un gris color plomo. Buitres circulan sobre nuestras cabezas sobre el campo…

Merry-Go-Round

Remember that post from last week where I talked about connecting with your loved ones because who knows if they’ll be around tomorrow?  Sometimes the universe sends you a comment back so fast that it makes your head spin. We lost two loved ones this week. First a darling aunt of my husband, whom I…

Pledge

I pledge allegiance to the faults in my unified human state and to the humility for which they stand one person flawed under god with beauty and simplicity for all.

Holding On

We just wanted to see the fireworks and a police blockade stood in our way. The crowd broke through, and we ran. We ran like our lives depended on it because it did. When you’ve got no papers the boys in blue aren’t your friends. We just wanted to see the fireworks so I grabbed…

Root Survival

Yucca Mandioca Cassava Poetry in vowels. Survival in a root. Hairy, fibrous, dirty layer on the outside, White gold inside. Tall and scraggly on top. You are the garden’s nerdy child. Blown down by the your bones snap at the slightest wind, slightest movement, but when you touch the ground each part of you begins…

Killing Day

I pile brush under a sky pewter gray. Vultures circle overhead over the field one hill away where a cow past her prime is being laid to rest. Beef which forms income to purchase the next generation. I pile brush dry and crackling so that we can burn it; hours of labor gone in fiery…

Hands

My hands have blisters in the most incredible places. The tip of my pinky, the edge of my palm, along my heart line, two in the moon of my index. Each has a name, like constellations: the mark of the hoe the scythe the pickaxe the wheelbarrow the shovel. My lover is dismayed. He cups…

Brazilian Wedding

A family of sweeping eyebrows. Men wearing fuzzy caterpillars Women wearing winged seagulls. Outdoor canopy borrowed, resuscitated from some past political event. National beer flowing free in cups and across tablecloths. Band playing bouncing beats of forro from the improvised stage– neither expert nor always melodic but always rhythmic and enthusiastic. Red, Brazilian mud grabbing…

Dry well

During the day my brain is a dry well like the one in our field spitting out muddy water, running dry before you can fill a few paragraphs. At night the words come beating against the back of my eyes scratching open my eyelids twitching the tips of my fingers. They chant: Find us a…

Coffee

is served black, dark sweet and hot sweet grounds from the farmer’s hand mashed, mixed with sugar boiled hot strained, steaming sweet syrup warmed in a carafe always waiting for visitors sipped slowly over conversation social ties sealed with a cup of heaven