307 West 5th Street Austin, Texas daughter to private Catholic schools: from kindergarten through eighth grade, St. Patrick’s; for high school, the all-girls’ Loretto Academy. She will live in the same house on Mesita Street from the time she comes home from the hospital in 1942, until she marries in 1963. Her mother will take piano lessons and help her children with their homework and catechism, with words like “onomatopoeia” and with questions to be answered: “Why did God make you? Can you see Grace?”; she will attend symphonies and concerts, driving herself and wearing a purple dress with matching heels, gloves, and a feathered hat, a gold glove-guard in her purse. And even though Pat’s Uncle Lalo will not give in to the pressures to change his name, he still will manage to make a career as an accountant/auditor with the Boundary Commission from 1948 to 1979. There are no scandals among these stories; nothing really terrible happens. The family history doesn’t center itself in plot or dramatic episode, but in the subtlychanging desert seasons of the twin-city oasis. Sparrows and robins mark February; figs ripen in August; chiles ristras hang in September; rodadoras blow through November. The men sip hot to de man zanilla at night, and for Christmas, sing together for the family. The women delight in stories and word play, mark their calendars with the birthdays of saints, make their lives a prayer for sanity. “No es desgracia ser pobre, pero es muy inconveniente.” And so their lives are blessed with literacy, a multi-faceted culture, and a sophisticated take on language. As Pat asked her mother after Woody the piano teacher died, “Mother, do you think Woody was gay?” “‘Well, Dear, I guess he was pretty happy, all that money and no children to worry about.’ “‘Gay, Mother, gay!’ “‘Oh,’ she says laughing until she’s gasping for breath…” Such circumstances do indeed breed not only walled gardens but concertos, sonatas, three-hundred-page family odes. Such literature brings to readers poetry rich and deep and slow as mole, not to the taste of all, but to be savored by those with affection for traditional flavors, historical truths, and blended cultures. Mora’s book becomes a home for such spirits, both dead and alive, and Mora, through this accomplishment, becomes a poet like her own verse’s great blue heron, coming from the middle ground the banks of the Rio Bravo who “lifts self and doubt, resists gravity, and flies.” Pat LittleDog writes from the countryside in Caldwell County. 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