March is Women’s History Month – Inmaculada Lara-Bonilla

 

Warm Winters

In Winter Waters

 

Last century’s hissing

hovers

over the muddy mix,

resting back on

the tracks

just outside my ashy

window.

 

All along a rusty

silver

beetle

rattles slumber

piles

a line of shore

off the murky

riverito.

 

Inside the train

the Hudson a

family of five

mother daughter in

sacred secret.

Curtains lamps

and

father daughter

wrapped in glowing

glove of

music.

 

Blurry silhouettes

steal the shadows

draw us right into

the night

we tune in

the fervent

recited

psalm you taught us.

The neverending

licking train

a thickening murmur

the nine-year-old

daughter staring

across

the aisle looking

twenty-five.

The thick

river

runs

our lashes

grow long

bathing in

the river

warmed up by the

snarl

by the fervor

and the memory of

holding

on

of fingers sliding

through the back

of your hand,

me standing tiny

between your

shoulders.

I, a tributary of

your legs,

a fleshy

pennant

waiting for

the  fine line

of secrets

to

end.

 

Now eyes in

the Hudson,

water in mind,

the grey blinding

surface

not reflecting

the length of my eyes

the muted waters,

the moistened silence

of the river bed,

but our distance.

This American

river

not knowing

how I knew

your clouds

your pieces of cotton

your breasts

your electric

fingers buried

in my hair,

my mouth watered

cheeks softened

to no

end.

 

This river of

irons,

unused to the sound

of the tile and kitchen

tools,

not saying how

I listened

to your evening lessons,

how I bellowed

through our peepholes

through the waves and the wall

paper

through the light and dark

of bedtime,

through the river

of nightly bears.

 

Nor how

in reverie

I spied your dress

your everyday feet

your eye shade

my startled eyes locked

my fantasies mounting

your round, soft hand

wrapped around mine once

more

by the pool

by the moon

by the river

by the traffic

light.

 

Inmaculada Lara-Bonilla is an assistant professor of U.S. Latina/o, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies in The City University of New York. She has taught at Harvard University, Oberlin College, and Syracuse University, where she cofounded a public arts and humanities center (La Casita Cultural Center) in 2011. Her research has been published in edited volumes such as American Secrets: The Politics and Poetics of Secrecy in the Literature and Culture of the United States (2011) and academic journals such as Latino Studies (2010) and New York History (2016), among others. She is the editor of “Stirred Ground: Non-Fiction Writing by Contemporary Latina and Latin American Women,” issue no. 11 of the Hostos Review/Revista Hostosiana (2014). As a poet, Inmaculada has published in the journals Stone Canoe, Literal, and Vice Versa.

 

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