Maybe because I am a parent...maybe because I had to keep the world from falling apart no matter what my breaking heart felt like...maybe because I love walking in the bosque--whatever the reason, I love this poem. The poet asks, "What am I searching for? What is missing?" Let's see if there an answer to be found among the cottonwoods.
Gina Marie Marselle is a dedicated supporter of the Albuquerque poetry community. She is involved with the poetry slam scene, and last month coordinated the Open Space Visitor Center Presents “Poetry in Place” event. Currently Ms. Marselle is a freshman English teacher at Cibola High School.
MY DAUGHTER’S HAND (A DREAM, IN FOUR PARTS)
Out here, under an autumn Moon
, I contemplate me.
Night’s silences rescue my thoughts from its usual ruckus.
Perfumes from green rich Bosque plume,
some from my friend, river and some from my protectors, the cottonwoods.
Steadfastly, a horned owl hoots his song.
Protected in my pocket of pale hands is my glass rosary.
I am praying about uncertainties.
This fall eve, la Virgen de Guadalupe offers an answer.
She has arrived just as I’m building my tomb
out of moist sands, yellow leaves,
to cocoon shattered dreams—
harvest birthday wishes—
wrap up my broken heart—
the virgin is gentle and forgiving.
Under the autumn Moon, I pray,
forgive me, for I’ve not loved enough life
nor listened to my daughter to the fullest,
never took a chance in which I might lose.
I lived when I should have died,
I cried when I should have laughed,
I laughed when I should have been gravely quiet.
Out here on the llano (which is not even mine)
I pray to gentle Guadalupe,
she is my daughter’s keeper,
and this land belongs to her and her ancestors.
I’m adopted by association
for my blood flows from the heartland.
Yet, I’m drawn to stand beneath this ocean sky,
by some mysterious hand, led
to the southwest to hear stories about Spanish conquistadors,
where sheep and wild mustangs and coyotes mingle,
cowboys and Apaches once cleared mesas,
rocky trails bridged hopes and connected farmers,
all growing histories under the watchful eye of white Moon, as I by caesarean, fight for life as daughter is ripped out of me, nine years ago,
my child holds beauty like lavenders in fields on a warm summer’s day.
Daughter’s Spanish skin is a wonder of olive, her inquisitive coffee eyes
always searching, long smooth locks offer colors dusk is surely jealous of,
she captures hearts and ties them down to the llano.
Now open lands bar me from traveling far.
Running along quiet trails,
Bless me, too, Ultima
give me your story, heal my soul,
I meditate the mysteries.
I pray one Our Father, I pray ten Hail Mary’s.
I pray, and I’m not ashamed to believe.
But my prayers go unanswered,
my path bears only my steps,
my cross to bear
and I stand beside my friend, the river
still searching, still asking,
still waiting for a reply.
Guadalupe, help me.
Out here, under an autumn Moon
, my dream blurs with reality. What am I searching for? what is missing? I’m tired of hopelessness,
tired of it flooding my soul with grief.
Tired of not belonging…
Guadalupe is gentle and forgiving, I tell myself (real).
Night air forges a bond of secrecy, into my catacomb, I walk (dream).
On my knees, asking for guidance, giving up control.
I am praying about this question: where is love for me?
Guadalupe delivers an answer to my prayers. I don’t understand her, at first.
Until she shows me my left hand holding my glass rosary, and my right hand holding
my daughter’s hand. There is your answer,
--Gina Marie Marselle, 4 July 2009
Submissions are most welcome. Email poems, pix, & short bio to email@example.com.