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Lisa Albright Ratnavira

Women of Granite


Like ancient stones

we have directed

destiny’s course.

Silently, stoically

standing firmly

We have founded and formed

every executive

each executioner

every Senator

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,

surviving kidnapping

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.

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