Poetry of Kansas Here & Now, There & Then

Posts tagged ‘Linda Rodriguez’

18. To the Stars Through Difficulty: Linda Rodriguez

Owl, silent raptor, silhouetted against Flint Hills February moon,
bone moon, bitter month—when life force is infinitely fragile,
when cold turns blood to slow-moving slush, standing here
in these dark cedars—when even the hottest heart cools
with time’s creeping, the round of years, like the stars, our origins—
when we run into bare-branched, ice-trimmed night seeking love’s heat,
longing for flame inside, fleeing the one who’s fortified us in the cooling years—
when owl warns what we must do to dodge this silent ice-death. Breathe in
the prairie distance, the wide Kansas skies, the love beside us. Look up.
The blaze you seek spreads across the night sky.

– Linda Rodriguez

11. Conversation With My Mother’s Picture

You and Dad were entirely happy here—

you in purple miniskirt, white vest and tights

(you always wore what was already too young

for me), Dad in purple striped pants,

a Kansas State newsboy’s cap

made for a bigger man’s head.

You both held Wildcat flags and megaphones

to cheer the football team who,

like the rest of the college, despised you

middle-aged townies, arranging for their penicillin

and pregnancy tests and selling them

cameras and stereos at deep discount.

But you were happy

in this picture, before they found

oat-cells in your lungs.

After the verdict, he took you to Disneyland,

this man who married you and your five children

when I was fifteen. He took you cross-country

to visit your family, unseen

since your messy divorce.

He took you to St. Louis

and Six Flags Over Texas and to Topeka

for radiation treatments.

I don’t think he ever believed

you could die. Now he’s going

the same way. And none of us

live in that Wildcat town with the man

who earned his “Dad” the hard way

from suspicious kids and nursed

your last days. For me, this new dying

brings back yours, leaving me only this image

of you both cheering for lucky winners.

– Linda Rodriguez

Published in Heart’s Migration (Tia Chucha Press, 2009)

Born in Fowler, Kansas, Linda Rodriguez has published Heart’s Migration, winner of the 2010 Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence, and Skin Hunger. She received the Inspiration Award from the KC Arts Fund, Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award, Midwest Voices and Visions Award, and both a Ragdale and Macondo Fellowship.

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