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Musical Visions POETRY BY CAROL COFFEE REPOSA FOR MY MOTHER You look fragile now, A sigh in shapeless white That tosses, rail to rail, in your iron bed, Your door just like the other doors That open on a road of disinfected tile While monitors continue flickering Lost messages Inscrutable On rows of gray-black screens. But I remember When you clubbed a diamondback to death Sun glinting on the hissing writhing skin At even angles Like your body as it danced across the lake, Arms locked in measured reaching As they pulled blue distance into breath, A song in icy water. And I remember When you pounded Gershwin On our dreary spinet Filling hungry rooms with city lights And scores of red silk gowns. The old piano now lieS mute. I touch it briefly But my hands sigh helplessly From key to key And I must stop To listen For the rustle of red silk. CONJUNTO FESTIVAL The park is crowded with large families, With sky, sound, and need. A baby sleeps against her father’s chest. Wrapped in his faded shirt She burrows softly toward her dreams, Damp curls spilling toward the steel guitars Her bottle falling from her mouth. Ten feet away A woman gums a cigarette Carol Coffee Reposa is a poet living in San Antonio. “For my Mother” reprinted with permission of The Pecan Grove Press, St. Mary’s University. And smooths her dress Again Again Rocks rhythmically to Tex-Mex songs, Stares vacantly at thunderheads Mottled like the threads Of limp hair Hanging at her neck. Her blue eyes look at nothing But the sky Until she sees the starched attendant, Reaches out her arms. Lightning wakes the child. She starts to cry, Her pink hands tight around her father’s neck. The young attendant Crisp in his white jacket Leads the woman to a bench nearby. Together they can watch the rain. FOR ANNE BRADSTREET She must have felt the hard wind cut between The planks and rattle makeshift desks while she Conceived her rambling children, inkstained, seen And heard, their chirping loud in every tree That rooted in her yard, the branches bare Except for all that twittering. The stare Of Elders sometimes must have slowed her, stopped The scandal for a while. Perhaps she marched To meeting stiff in white lace collars, dropped Her gaze demurely during prayers starched And solemn for the Sabbath while she planned The next small outrage brooding in her hand. She must have plotted while she cut wood, set The corn and milked the cows, put up preserves, The faces of her imps enough to whet The carping tongues that needled her, sharp curves On which her feet might slide. But still she bore Those small plump shapes, each one the molten core Of yet another mating. Even when Her house burned she was thinking of the next Long night, her fingers set to draw the thin White curtains round her bed, her spirit flexed To brave more labors, showing in the streets, To meet her Saint between the freezing sheets. JAZZ MASS AT SAN FERNANDO The music fuses all in one brief crest While people file in from the dusty street, For moments those whose hearts God has possessed. Fat pigeons settle on the arches, rest, Wings folded on the tread of weary feet. The music fuses all in one brief crest. Long trumpets trail along mute columns, dressed In blues to cross deep rivers, leave the heat, For moments those whose hearts God has possessed. Hymns touch the coolness of cold stone, sound pressed Against the silence of stained glass. Lines meet. The music fuses all in one brief crest While children breathe the songs and incense, blessed Fires reaching dark. White candles sing, retreat, For moments those whose hearts God has possessed. The priest bows. Oak doors creak toward light, the west A blaze of singing. Dusk falls like a sheet. The music fuses all in one brief crest, For moments those whose hearts God has possessed. [:1 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19