Two Poems by Marlena Maduro Baraf


The losses:
infant daughter
youngest daughter shot at the mall in Miami
beloved husband
second daughter dies in her sleep

You push your head erect
you let it sink to the right
your daughter-in-law plumps a small silk cushion
she tucks it lovingly into the low wooden chair
she rights your head
your son-in-law lifts the woven shawl onto your shoulder
your nephew touches the shawl to your cheek
a grandson strokes your sinuous hand
your first daughter sighs
a granddaughter bends
your son sobs
a niece holds her breath

You push your head erect
you let it sink to the right
your daughter-in-law plumps
your son-in-law lifts
the shawl touches your cheek
sinuous fingers

You push your head
you let it sink
we sob

your daughter
the sweetness of chocolate
she tucks
he lifts
we breathe

Number 14 Blue

She appears in other paintings
clutching her throat
resting her finger on a pearl
The sky above has stained her pearl
The eyes so blue
they’ve bled into their whites
Who thought her eyes and pearl and sky?
What memories bind them?

Marlena Maduro Baraf‘s stories and poems have been published in Sweet Lit, the Ekphrastic Review, On the Seawall, Night Heron Barks, Poets Reading the News, and elsewhere. She immigrated to the United States from her native Panama and is the author of the memoir At the Narrow Waist of the World and co-author of Three Poets/Tres Poetas. She writes the newsletter Breathing in Spanish on the Substack platform.

One thought on “Two Poems by Marlena Maduro Baraf

  1. I am grateful to Sparks of Calliope for recognizing my two poems. Seeing them featured here allows me to stand back and experience them as if encountering them for the first time. Kudos to the graceful attention of Randal Burd.

    Liked by 1 person

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