Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 5 • Spring 2003 • Poetry

Widower's Welcome

Rigoberto González

for my mother

Only dead wives buried near my mother's grave.
They huddle in the rainy season beneath
bouquets of wet carnations. No tears from the men

who come here -- just sweat and soaked coats.
That masculine musk released into the humid air
awakens my desire. I'm too aware of living, sorry

these women exchanged the company of men
for stone, smooth and hard as their husbands' backs.
The wish to disappear into the rigid creases of the spine,

behind tense muscle, below bone, granted.
I have known such pleasure, and I will grieve its loss,
imagining my mother longs for the man who filled

her breath with his. She now sleeps without my father's
song inside her mouth, her tongue a hollow print
of her lover's tongue. And my father, partnered

again -- another wife, a different song. Silence
greets him at the cemetery gate, and ushers him
to memory. I inhale his scent and try to understand

why a woman dies and in her loneliness discovers
how to stir the ghost of passion, suddenly alive
from the rigid facial tissue to the empty muscle of the foot.

Rigoberto González is the author of So Often the Pitcher Goes to Water until It Breaks, a selection of the National Poetry Series. His work was recently published or is forthcoming in Creative Nonfiction, Prairie Schooner, The Iowa Review, Chelsea, Colorado Review, and ZYZZYVA. The recipient of a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and writing residencies to Spain, Brazil, and Costa Rica, he has also written a book for children, Soledad Sigh-Sighs, and a novel, Crossing Vines, both titles forthcoming in 2003. He is currently writing the biography of Chicano writer, Tomás Rivera, and translating the works of Mexican writer, Salvador Novo. He lives in Brooklyn, New York and is a book reviewer for El Paso Times of Texas.

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