People have come, and some have gone
Many leaving memories like
Old grandma hands, tortillas on the comal
My hands learning not to burn
Then scooping up hot
Creamy white jocoque in my youth.
Memories of a grandfather
Patient and present
The varicose veins
He said were from snake bites
Then winked my shock away.
I remember his swift walk
His hands ready to get dirty
Raising sunflowers as big as your head
Beautiful enough to find their way
Into a Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
My abuelito, how I treasure the nurturing
The loving of a protective soul.
You saw me, we lived together
With tios and tias in a little Mexico town
Alone now, everyone leaving.
Long ago this was the place
I swung back and forth on a gate
Me not yet three, yet full of knowing
My aunt warning me I could get in trouble
But my little voice responding sure
“Mucho me quieren!”
(“Not likely – I’m so loved ”).
Those were the days and at times
I didn’t know what to make
Of some strange happenings
Like lying on a hard kitchen table
Enema water coursing through me
I scream-crying, my body out of control
My abuelitos set on curing my empacho
That tricky stomach glitch needing this.
And then after many years
Now not in Mexico, now here
With my other family, my real mom,
My dad, and my brothers and sisters.
How my abuelitos tried to transfer me back
to this other family, pleading be careful, slow.
But no, from one day to the next
it was warm here, then cold there
comfort and softness, then harsh reality.
So confusing, those years adjusting
To the loss of my elder guardians,
My angels in disguise.
Til finally one day my abuelita passed away
I was five, skipping past death’s tears.
And later, much later, me in my teens
Heard the news that my abuelito had died
His heart gave out, tired of pumping love.
I remember him still.
One of my many treasures.
asked to voice our knots, display our tangles
present them in beauty, fit for the public
a contradiction, a delicate artful challenge
thus this attempt, holding close the interest of we
bombarded by so much sensation, news of abuse
shooters erupt, thirst blazing, wrinkled with fears
uterus empty of mothering, broken warrior gone wild
loss felling children, uniformed walls, all distant relatives
tired, bones witness the gathering day workers storm
weary, business suits fit to neglect needs
angry, skeletons fed on promises of better tomorrow
self-medicated, sick of bankruptcies, graduation job lies
so the marchers emerge, demanding rights
to knowledge, to health, to be spectators no more
expecting a world to transform, to allow worth in this lifetime
together pounding the pavement, lifting spirits to the sky
listen to the prayer of a nation humbled by mistakes
embrace and brace for changes, expect this once and for all
rely on the wealth of the creative, let it flow into every gap
reject addictions rooted in usurped authority, robbed power
Mother Earth waits for her children to grasp their lesson
that there are natural laws greater than the toys of man
that a well being is measured by dignity beyond its own
that the abundance we seek is already in our midst
so be wise, responsive: there’s only enough time to align
Rain, my heart is bursting
Tears, for my son, my helper
So many deaths this week
Passing us by, leaving us behind
Grandfather, Grandmother, Mother
They remind us that all will pass
Nothing stays the same, we too
Must change to meet the seasons
So my heart is full of crying
Also of worries, of missed words
Unexpressed, awkward, feelings
So much to say, not able always
to make myself heard, understood.
This life takes courage, to go on
To speak up, not worry about the
Surface, dive underneath, go deep
I ask Creator for help, and stop
To break in the Sky, its clouds,
The Earth, its aroma of dirt and grass
And remember the blessings.