Marisol Baca – After Boarding School, Manuelita Yearns for her Mandolin

Marisol Baca featured image

Marisol Baca

After Boarding School, Manuelita Yearns for her Mandolin

 

When she came home
she didn’t recognize many things
her own face
was a song she was taught to sing
summer was canning peaches
in a white woman’s home
she could can anything
after those summers
pick
clean
cull
stop
bubble
fill
squeeze

Playing mandolin in the summer
a sound escape
her hand
she closed tight
to hold it near

when she came home
she walked along the cottonwood
knowing how to play
but she had to leave
the instrument behind
no money to buy a new one
she dreamt of the strings vibrating
and the heat of strange kitchens
syrupy sweet jars filled
and the closing of the lids

 

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.

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