The speckled road runner that built a nest
in the high crook of the half-dead tree
across the street from me
strides, bobs up her tail
snatches a black beetle out of the weeds
guages my two cats.
No contest, and they know it.
She, businesslike, not snobby,
unhurried, wrapped up in her job,
struts back where she came from.
Before moving to Albuquerque Phyllis Hoge wrote, published, and taught poetry at the University of Hawaii as and initiated the first Poets in the Schools Program in America. She also taught at UNM for several years. Phyllis has published nine books, most recently “Hello, House,” illustrated by Maxine Hong Kingston.
Maybe she had a reason for drowning her children,
a reason only she could justify, to save them from
a worse fate. From servitude, from the hollow stares
of those who would surely see them unworthy of
their rightful place in a divided world
of cast and class.
Her legendary tale has survived centuries of
scrutiny, has twisted and turned into fanciful rituals
of fairytale lore, in dreams and nightmares of
children who stray too far away from home.
A warning not to let their imaginations lead them
into temptation, defiance, exploration,
or La Llorona will surely find them —
snatch them up as her replacement children.
So, beware of La Llorona. She lurks in the shadows of night,
in the still waters of rippled souls who
let her brush against their cheeks with seductive stillness. Her
specter lifts us out of dreary mediocrity into
mythological realms, as we sensationalize her story,
make it our own. Her shrieks, her wails, her angst
resound in sync with the melodic beating of our own
heart so that our children can dream of crystal clear
waters, starry nights, and mountain tops covered with sparkling snow.
Joanne S. Bodin, Ph.D., is a retired APS teacher. Her novel, Walking Fish, won the New Mexico Book Awards, the International Book Awards, and was a finalist in the USA Best Book Awards. She has also published a book of poems, Piggybacked, a tribute to her late grandfather.