POETRY I BY MARIAN AITCHES BOUGAINVILLEA I have just learned that Arabs call you Mejnoona crazy woman in love or woman crazy with love or woman in crazy love which makes good sense any way you say it. Now when I watch the news I will look for you in the drama of war since they have dreamed a word I know you are there somewhere bounding up the wall of a woman’s bedroom oasis in the madness of men. You are bright pink or red or vivid orange so unless you have burned in war’s embrace you will be visible if I look hard enough, a blazing sign that we still live in a world where women fall in love and flowers recall their craziness. SPELLING At ten, I’d never heard the word that could redeem me. So when, at the San Antonio bee the man pronounced my final round I had no way to sound it out only one syllable a poor word in a poor girl’s mouth. It was 50/50, I knew that muchdirth with an I, dirth like dirt or dearth like earth, which is also dirt. In the end I went with dirt and lost my faith in luck. At ten, I knew, you can study and pray prepare for ambitious loquacious, even extraneous and then out of nowhere get a one-syllable test a word close to death. And all you can do is smile and try to spell it. BONES I remember my head full so full of moonlight the brain blooms and sails, a ship in a bottle, my head an egg broken with joy the feel of feet kicking out of my eyes. Having been young once I think it is too much to embrace maturity with one dumb face. I will let my body carve a path through the air, my head a blue parrot riding the cool back of a rattler. A thousand years away I will be the bones some anthropologist holds up to the light, amazed by the music they make. MARIAN AITCHES teaches at the University of Texas at San Antonio. A native of San Antonio, she is working on a history/ memoir about Victoria Courts, the government housing project where she spent her childhood. Naomi Shihab Nye MARCH 21, 2008 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 25
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