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Poems

Consider the Crocus

 

I have seen the way

the crocus, hesitant and slight,

pokes its tiny petals

above the frozen ground

 

almost beyond belief

that something

so beautiful and bright

can appear in this

barest time of year

 

With precision to the calendar –

February – the cold, white month

of short, icy days

the crocus rises from a

winter sleep

 

and though it is easy to

stomp it back into the

frozen Earth

even without thinking

only from lack of practice

in the dark, frozen months

of caring for something

so delicate and beautiful

 

though it would be easy

to trample it without noticing

each time I see

these tiny golden petals

I halt, stunned by this simple act

of flower pushing again to the sun

(though it cannot see it through

winter clouds)

 

Stunned into silence

as I remember, again,

the flower must reach to the sky

and I, I must bow

to its body-wisdom

and reach again to the light

I cannot see

the light I do not always believe in

but which pulls me

hesitant, tiny, tender

 

beyond this frozen ground

beyond belief

surrendering to a body-wisdom

as ancient

as this Earth

 

Surrendering

to the light

I cannot see

        ~ Michelle St. Romain Wilson

Louisiana Night

 

My father’s family spoke French

in a dialect only we

could understand

and still so much lingers

like music playing gently

in deep crevices of my mind

 

Memories of voices trailing

down the hall after

we, the children,

went to bed:

mais oui, mon cheri –

lyrical words moving together

sliding through the warm, thick

summer nights

as daddy longlegs dangled

from my ceiling and

puppies slept, snoring gently

as though not to wake me

though I did not

could not

sleep

 

Belly full of gumbo

hot and spicy

sweet taste of gulf shrimp

and silky okra

warming me

still

 

Still

I cannot sleep

 

Memories of climbing

our large oak tree

branches reaching out

over the house

protecting us from thunder

and lightning

and threats of hurricane winds:

only warm, healing rain

showers us now

lulling me into

the secrets of the night

 

Stars come out

one by one by one

shyly first

then piercing

through the darkness

 

Quietly now

voices dim

belly full

I drift into

a sleepy sleep

arms and legs resting still

in my dreams

against our old

and beautiful

guardian oak tree

quiet now

quiet

 

Storms are passing now

and the daddy longlegs

has finally disappeared

no longer hanging from my ceiling

at last

at last

 

I sleep

           ~ Michelle St. Romain Wilson

The Poet Sees His Grandmother’s Face

My friend, Lawson,

a poet,

has not liked

computers.

He says that his poems

when they first arrive

come longhand.

Eventually

they make it

to the typewriter

where in writing them

he taps out a rhythm

but this isn’t

what he likes

about typing.

What he likes

is how upon seeing

the words come up,

the typewriter

provides

a sufficient pause

to think            or to whiteout.

 

Recently, Lawson

has discovered

the internet—

repository of facts

and a connection

to a story he knew

from a different angle

the story of a grandmother

sitting on the porch

of a home,

recovered after Internment.

 

What a surprise,
to see her face,

and it made

the seventy-something year old man

transform

into the child

he was back then

and wonder

where he was

in relation to his grandmother.

 

His own parents

without a home

after camp

went to her place

and so the poet surmises

yes, there,

I must have been there

to the side of my grandmother

just outside

the scope of the lens.

 

And he smiles

to see her face

and at the knowledge

that through her

he knows his place.

                 ~ Alma Rosa Alvarez

What They Say 

 

What they say

Freddie Gray

is how

a picked-up

preacher man

riding along

in the police van

heard you

hurling yourself

inside

banging

the reinforced

metal of the walls,

no matter

that you

were restrained

by leg irons

and hand cuffs,

a sack of stuff

with no seatbelt on

as the van sped away

to learn you

to behave

and not look a cop

directly in the face.

The blame

keeps coming back

to you again

so many arrests:

a thief

a guy caught with Mary Jane.

It’s like the time

Your papa sued

for the brain-damage

you and your sisters sustained

for exposure

to lead paint

and the landlord

blamed

your mama and crack

 

but I don’t

blame you

and I don’t

believe them.

                   ~ Alma Rosa Alvarez