AFTER HEARING OF MARIA IZQUIERDO  FOR THE FIRST TIME
by jenn givhan

 

 

I'll be lost I'll be misplaced I'll be buried

where this fucking chihuahua won't stop whining

it'll be buried with me

 

velorio-style, deathwatch

after which all the partygoers

with their festive paper blowers

 

will wander down the hallway

& forget my mock orange perfume

no, they will never have known it

 

& the candles to their bellied wicks

will nothing but wisp to smoke & that too

will vanish. Another woman painted, before

 

sunrise, the surrealist heart with pitahayas rotting

another woman first wove flowers

into her braided hair. At fourteen, forced

 

to marry an army officer, this first woman bore

3 children by age 17 & still rose: first Mexican woman

with an art show in Gringolandia.

Why we've sainted one

& forgotten the other is a tale

for penciled etchings in the margins

 

from where I, mother poet, may never

unditch myself, not even

when the trenched dirt covers my face

 

& my eyes close toward the worms

as Maria in Sueño y Premonición,

motherwoman left holding her own head

 

while her headless red body scrambles

prayer-handed toward the limb-

struck trees, & still her hair weeps roses

 

into the crossed flower box, urging me

wrap your mothered roots around each trunk

even as the dream ends, pearls

 

for lips, paint every last stroke.

      "What few people realize is that Frida borrowed her style of painting and even of dressing from another Mexican woman painter, a contemporary ofFrida's by the name of Maria Izquierdo." -Alisa Valdes, Know Us By Our Names: 100 Influential Latinas Everyone Should Know About

1
1

© 2004-2020 All Rights Reserved. American Poetry Journal