Lisa Albright Ratnavira
Women of Granite
Like ancient stones
we have directed
We have founded and formed
each cell mate.
All owe their identity
to our wombs.
As we enter
this rapid movement
with scars of silence
we carry grace and wisdom
into the echoing corridors
and hurl the earth’s core
at the glass ceilings
our ungrateful fetuses foolishly formed.
Even As A Child…
Even as a child I did not belong
not quiet and fair like my brother
curious, dark, wild, twirling, laughing
in restaurants, when grandparents came to visit.
A mystery to my introverted parents,
only 17 and 19 when my big brother arrived
I packed my diaper bag
ate breakfast with the neighbors
fed carrots to horses in the field
filled my shoebox with ladybugs and dandelions,
a baby house finch fallen from its nest, fools gold and poppies.
Even as a child I was a misfit
wearing my mom’s wig
pretending to be someone named Christine
performing in a circus as a tightrope walker
trapezing my Dad’s saw horses
teaching my dogs Buffy and Sammy to jump
through my hula hoops
Even as a child
my lemonade stand had glitter sprinkles
rainbow signs and pom poms
my quiet reclusive family remained indoors
while I climbed trees, caught lizards and played street football
held my neighbor’s boa constrictor
came home laughing
peanut butter and jelly on my face and on my shirt
traipsing in feathers, pinecones, rocks
calling KKIQ to play “I shot the sheriff” and “yellow submarine”
swimming underwater like a mermaid
hours later cooking at my pretend stove for my pet spider Frankie
Once I took a nap on my own
they found me asleep in my closet
after calling the police and searching for me for hours
I could read, color, swim, knew the scientific names of plants
took buses to church by myself by the age of 4.
But I could not sit still.
I Say Hero
The young girls smile from ear to ear,
but the effervescence in their mama’s smile
tells me he is home – he is safe,
torn from his family
he has given up all his worldly gain
to hire those most would fear
to return to his beloved’s arms
hold once more his loving children.
Home, back at work, grateful
His family once again whole.
Funny: those fair captors
those who share his color-coyotes-were his rescuers
Fair-skinned men of the upper classes
tore him from his beloved
yet run from their own, hire their brothers
to allow them to abandon mirror images, the women
they once vowed to love always, at an altar
in front of their Savior, their blue-eyed, fair-skinned Savior
yet they too run.
Only their journeys are sanctioned
allowed, even finance this deception.
Many call my hero “illegal, wetback, undocumented.”
I say, “hero, lover of family, hard worker, beloved.”
I say, “Give me 10 men like this
over one fair-skinned deceiver of children,
abandoner of wives,
of hidden incomes from secret accounts and alliances.”
Funny how depending on the lens,
a hero is an illegal,
a fair skinned man, the coyote.