April 2, 2013
Jugglers

              for my mother (1932-1997)

 

She and I on a bench peeling prawns:

 

the first day of her fiftieth year and she points

at two street performers about to juggle

fire, and a distant summer morning

 

surfaces, afloat on the light wind blowing

off the bay—older sisters in the dark, hiding

as big brother parades around the house

 

his hands outstretched clutching large candles

I’m on a search! he shouts,

marching from room to room

 

till he finds them huddling in a jungle

of clothes, beacons flickering as flame-

hot wax begins to flow across his fingers…

 

while she is walking to Centro Adulto, her head brimming

with phrases: the words she needs so she can quit

sewing, land a job in a bank; and the sitter

 

arriving minutes late, finding us wet

and trying to save a coat, a shirt, a dress—it’s

a small one: nothing the green hose

 

and frantic assembly-line of buckets

doesn’t eventually douse, leaving walls and curtains

the color of coal—Mira! she gasps

 

her left hand rapping my shoulder, still pointing with the right

as the torches,

from one juggler to the other,

 

begin to fly

 

Francisco Aragón (St. Joseph County)

 Francisco Aragón’s multi-genre book Glow of Our Sweat (2010) includes poems, translations, and an essay. His translations appear in Federico García Lorca’s Selected Verse: A Bilingual Edition (1996). The editor of Bilingual Press’s Canto Cosas poetry book series and the anthology The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry (2007), Aragon has seen his own poetry appear in many anthologies, including Inventions of Farewell: A Book of Elegies (2001) and Mariposa: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry (2008). At the University of Notre Dame, Aragón directs Letras Latinas, the literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies.

Indiana Humanities is posting a poem a day from Indiana poets in celebration of National Poetry Month.

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