Marisol Baca – Swell

Marisol Baca featured image

Marisol Baca



New Mexico 2019

the night before I carried
my father’s ashes to the mountains of his home
I walked to the edge of the roiling dark of the Rio Grande river
thick water of memory and suffering

Guadalupe? I asked
be with me and my sisters tonight
I dipped a bowl
I took from his kitchen
stainless steel
and this night it reflected the moon
I dipped it into the water
while I kept balance holding on to a do-not-swim sign post
it could have said anything
it could show a cartoon silhouette of a woman holding an infant
one arm raised to motion for help

swell the swift running current
the secrets of babies lost in the wild and an attempt
to cross over
little owlets flying through a forest under the current

we light candles with a bowl of the water
we write our mothers and grandmothers and great aunts names down
we say our father’s name and pour oils and herbs into the water
it’s a prayer for those who were not protected
for those who, right now are unprotected

Guadalupe — Pachamama
protect them all if you can
swell the lacquered water up on to the bank
swell the emptying of the bowl back into the water
swell the many who suffered here in her swollen
muddy and icy current
swell the hands of the virgin


Marisol Baca’s artist statement:

Over the past 15 days, I have been writing a poem a day. This concentrated workload allowed me to sit face-to-face with poems that I have been wanting to write for a long time— stories that I have wanted to investigate for a long time. It was a difficult thing to do, but the right time to do it. These poems are about exploring the work of a favorite artist of mine and finding out more about my family history. The first eight poems are interrelated and are about the surrealist painter, Remedios Varo. Her paintings evoke wonder and curiosity in me, and I love them. The second set of poems deal with stories about my great grandmother and her sisters. There are some stories in these poems that I have been thinking about for a long time, maybe even years, and have not been able to write until now. Last week I had a dream about my great grandmother standing at the entrance of a doorway telling me to go ahead and get it done. So I did.

Published by jeffersonbeavers

Jefferson Beavers is a multimedia storyteller based in Fresno, Calif. He works at Fresno State and enjoys volunteering in the community.

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