after García Lorca

Once I wasn’t always so plain.
I was strewn feathers on a cross
of dune, an expanse of ocean
at my feet, garlands of gulls.

   Sirens and gulls. They couldn’t tame you.
You know as well as they: to be
a dove is to bear the falcon
at your breast, your nights, your seas.

   My fear is simple, heart-faced
above a flare of etchings, a lineage
in letters, my sudden stare. It’s you.

   It’s you! sang the heart upon its mantel
pelvis. Blush of my breath, catch
of my see—beautiful bird—It’s you.

Note to Poetry Out Loud students: This poem begins with an epigraph that must be recited. Omitting the epigraph will affect your accuracy score.
  • "'Love of My Flesh, Living Death'" by Lorna Dee Cervantes, from From the Cables of Genocide: Poems on Love and Hunger. Copyright © 1991 by Lorna Dee Cervantes, Used with permission of Arte Público Press, www.arte.uh.edu

  • Source: From the Cables of Genocide: Poems on Love and Hunger (Arte Público Press, 1991)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"I learned that no matter how many times I do it, I will still be nervous when I speak in public. I also learned that it is possible to experience the same poem many times in a row and still feel like I am discovering something new about myself through the words of the writer."
Madeleine Schroeder
2017 OH POL Champion