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About this poet

Cindy Williams Gutiérrez was born and raised in Brownsville, Texas. She received an MFA from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program. She is the author of the small claim of bones (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2014). The founder of the Miracle Theatre Group’s ¡Viva la Word! program, she lives near Portland, Oregon.

 

The Persistence of Scent

                    Mother, you will persist in fragrances—
the nectar-scent of carrots, pineapple, pecans
baking in a two-layer cake. I will shorten
my mornings into hours of praise.

                    More than alchemy, fresh cilantro—
in pungent handfuls—will be sautéed with garlic,
onions, tomatoes. And like magic, beans
will turn into savories in my ordinary kitchen.

                    And the aroma of lilies will not be resisted.
I will plant tigers, stars, Easters, cannas, callas.
The rain on their talcum will conjure you—
your skin this satiny scent—

                    here, on the porch swing, just after a bath.
I will sprinkle lily petals on my pond,
dip my hand in this holy water,
rub your silk into my fingers.

                    But it is the tang of the sea that will return
your salt to soothe my wound. Here in this watery
womb of the earth—this place you love only
from a distance since you never learned to swim—
here I will stop holding my breath, inhale the sting.

From The Small Claim of Bones (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2014). Copyright © 2014 by Cindy Williams Gutiérrez. Used with the permission of Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe.

From The Small Claim of Bones (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2014). Copyright © 2014 by Cindy Williams Gutiérrez. Used with the permission of Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe.

Cindy Williams Gutiérrez

Cindy Williams Gutiérrez is the author of the small claim of bones (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2014). She lives near Portland, Oregon.

 

by this poet

poem

Softly, it always began softly.
Then slowly swelled to a wail.
Men’s voices. Maybe seven of them
up on the hill behind the house.

A breeze through the window
stirred the curtains like clouds.
I was five, or six. Around midnight
it would start—such a doleful sound.

They were

poem

what my body knows
is not a lie     it’s not
a lie i tell you     it is not
it’s nothing short of truth
and nothing larger
my past lodges
in my marrow     and if
i wanted a transplant
there’d be no match
others’ sorrows dwarf
my petty traumas     still
these

poem

We will smudge
our shoulder blades with wings of ash.

We will sow
your remaining ash in an untilled field.

We’ll toss
red carnations, red dahlias, red hibiscus.

We’ll release
white doves and flutter white handkerchiefs.

We’ll return
to the field to watch brave bulls