Global City Press

Welcome to the literary metropolis.

In spring the rains
cajole cactus flowers
into bloom— pink, tangerine and crimson.
I walk past prickly pear, saguaro
and organ pipe.
Hummingbirds dart out
of the palo verde.  

I grew up at the edge
of the Pima Reservation
where cotton fields stretched
to the mountains.  
In the early morning
I swim to cricket song.
A jackrabbit watches from the brush.
The sun thaws my bones
after a long winter back east.

Simple tasks of house guest—
meals out, gin rummy after dusk, wine,
my aunt’s kulfi, my mother’s fish curry
and the news of the large clan.
We have lunch with a cousin
who drives up from the south.
My aunt drops me
at the Old Mission Church
open on Sundays to tourists.
I kneel in front of the Virgin
of Guadalupe.  I light a candle
for my mother’s knees.

A conductor arranges
a symphony in the desert.  
Outside the church windows
the cacti sing the chorus,
the swallows are the audience.
And geckos dart
in and out, play the encore.

We dream long days, 
we called our life.  
We savor the desert winter
before the heat returns,  
before we wake
to summer’s
unrelenting sun.

Michelle Valladares teaches poetry and creative writing in the English Department at the City College of New York, CUNY, where she serves as the Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing. Visit her online at