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 Que cosa tan extraña es la vida--
 yo voy de un hogar a otro,
 mientras los árboles
 duermen siempre en el mismo lugar, siempre cantando
 el mismo himno 
 de viento y hambre. 
 A veces 
 los barcos salen de mi corazón
 embullados, otra vez, al mar
 sin tenerle miedo al sudor largo de la vida. El océano
 de mis años se va secando, pero
 todo el tiempo está lleno de peces entre las olas 
 y arrugas de la esperanza.
 Porque aprendí a nadar en las orillas
 de la vida
 en los brazos de mi mama,
 pero se van las madres
 en los fuegos entre oraciones. Luego,
 desde el balcón de mi memoria 
 aparece el parque de la juventud. Los columpios
 se pierden en el pelo gris 
 del aire. 


 How strange life can be—
 I go from one house to another, 
 while the trees always sleep
 in the same place, always singing
 the same hymn
 of wind and hunger.
 From time to time,
 boats exit my heart
 looking forward, once again, to the sea
 unafraid of the long sweat of life. The ocean
 of my years keeps drying up, but 
 the whole time, it is full of fish within the waves
 and wrinkles of hope.
 Because I learned to swim on the shores
 of life
 in my mother’s arms
 but mothers leave
 in the fires between prayer. Later
 from the balcony of my memory,
 the park of childhood appears. The swings
 getting lost in the gray hair 
 of the air. 


I am neither salt nor earth, but I did give birth to a church which I traded 
 for all the hydrangea in worlds of bone 
 the way I traded an amethyst ring 
 once for a balloon, the ring I hid between my legs before officials checked 
 my hands for jewelry when 
 we were leaving an occupied country.
 My poor arms had already practiced being an altar
 the rest of me, jasmine. My birds are thick-skinned
 especially around lions. So mother warned me:
 bows and arrows are only for those who cannot carve boats out of wind. 
 So she said: make my memories honest ones. Then she turned into fire, leaving me
 to grieve ants. What wolves me is hunger, the lack
 of air surrounding the teeth of my boats.


                                              --after Luis Rosales
 When the night comes in, hundreds of refugees 
 climb quietly 
                  into boats.
                                         The moon
                                         and the coyote fall in love.
                                         When the night comes in, 
 the coat,
               in the corner of the room, 
 unloads  its cold burdens.
 When the night comes in, the morning glories worry about debt.
                           When the night comes in,  those who are exiled 
 dream of finding their houses 
 in the land of their birth. 
 They cry, in their dreams, 
                             if they cannot find it. 
 When the night comes in,  the nightingale  softens              
                              the walk of madmen. 
                              When the night comes in, 
 swimmers are more careful                 in the waves of doubt.
 When the night comes in, 
                            stars hover 
                           over the homes of the lonely,
  the cartographer  falls asleep 
 on the mountainous land of sadness,
                    the bullfighter hides his dark thoughts 
                    in a red handkerchief. When the night comes in, 
 quickly unwind the rope from the dock.
                                                      the wolf’s howl is a type of prayer.


                        --after Angel Gonzalez
 This astonishing world               where we turn       to horses for their blue answers, 
                 where love cracks       as easily as glass, 
                       and trees whisper aubades 
                                                to the boats that leave for work each morning, 
 where bag ladies sit in the corners of rain, and the homeless
            look forward to loaves of fire 
 at night,                                            when winter soaks their dreams, 
 where spiders threaten those in tattered shoes, 
                         and fever forms on the foreheads 
 of the wheat and its children.
     the elderly sit on balconies and knit 
                                    their memories into scarves, 
           the daffodils mourn their mothers and fathers, 
                                                                    and old birds sing 
 to ward of death. 
                                          O world astonishing 
 because we can rest our tired breaths               on hammocks between two pines, 
                   because sometimes 
                                         the weathervanes move
                                        in the opposite direction 
              of sadness, 
                                                    because even in refugee camps 
                                                      the children hide behind tents
                                                     in a game of hide and seek, 
     because we can imagine blue horses 
                                       and set an extra place at dinner 
                                      for destiny, 
                                          so we can ask her to let us always breathe easily 
                                           and, if we can’t, 
               to make sure
 we don’t die alone.


 I want to find my childhood home
 among the hydrangea,          the day lilies         and peonies.        There 
 where the bowl on the dining room table is always filled 
 with pomegranates, pears, and luck
 where the roof sings its  song 
 for those who have nothing,  and all who look in its windows                                                                                  
                                              are promised 
                                              to never be exiled again. 
 There are boats in the  nearby river 
 with good hearts,        birds in the trees 
 who believe in prayer and dawns. 
                                                   The pear trees ripen away from debt. 
 I want to play, again, on the swing next door 
                                                      and look over the backyard wall 
                                                       to see the neighbors’ roosters and hens, 
 anything free of doubt and worry.                     
                                                                 O sweet house, 
 there are no horses left who know how to get to you.              And I, 
 I walk as a tourist  in my own dreams, 
                                                      where the stars are barely lit 
                                                     and palm trees keep calling my name. 
 I miss my house, now, 
                      in old age 
                      when there are a lot more birds in back of me than in front. 


 There are times my body walks by itself
          as if we were two stalks of wheat 
                                                       blowing in different winds. 
                                                          I am separated from myself 
                            the way an echo keeps going after the first yell. 
 I  straggle behind,            like years do, with their memories 
                                  of failed loves, of debts. 
 My body                           of dinners with no bread.
                   strides ahead of me 
                             like a country seeking its name 
                                  unconcerned           about the cartographer’s struggles
                                          to delineate a nation          made only of hope. 
 It walks forward,          always forward,
 looking for houses     made of sugar and flour, 
 persimmons and apples. I watch
                                        myself swimming
             in a river the opposite of loss,        
                          I watch my hands put coins in a beggar’s cup, 
 I hear my mouth bequeath boats to refugees 
         and promise exiles     that they will once again see their homeland.
 I watch my hair     fly in the wind          like hundreds of freed sparrows, 
                                 the heart,          o the heart 
                                 forgetting how old it is                  
               offering itself to thorn bushes without any fear
 believing there are many more houses,
                                              roofs intact, to live in. 

2 comments so far ↓

  • 1 Blair Adams // Dec 20, 2021 at 9:03 pm

    These poems are lovely, Eva. You can tell a lot about a person when you read their words. You are clearly a thoughtful person, reflective & with consideration for others. Keep writing!

  • 2 Ashley Fernandez // Dec 21, 2021 at 9:15 am

    These poems are amazing dr.skrande I honestly love the poems and most the gray hair

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