I am awhirl with the poetry of Lorna Dee Cervantes which I hadn’t discovered before today. The following is vaguely unrepresentative of her work, as far as I can see, but I like it nonetheless. it’s from her first collection Emplumada (1989), which I recommend highly, from what I’ve seen so far. It may be the fact that I talked about Rita Dove’s career today, but this book seems to me to do what Dove’s early poetry does, but less obviously veiled by workshop craftsmanship. The poems dealing with the Chicano experience are stronger than the tender love poems of which I quote one, so don’t be misled by my choice.
Lorna Dee Cervantes: The Body as Braille
He tells me “your back
is so beautiful.” He traces
my spine with his hand.
I’m burning like the white ring
around the moon. “A witch’s moon,”
dijo mi abuela. The schools call it
“a reflection of ice crystals.”
It’s a storm brewing in the cauldron
of the sky. I’m in love
but won’t tell him
if it’s omens