Reflections on Rivera's Vendedora de Flores

Posted Mar 18 2006

Guest writer Ixta Menchaca is a 23-year-old poet, animal-lover, and activist. Raised in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, she is a 2002 graduate of the University of Michigan and is currently working in a U-M student affairs office dedicated to promoting social justice. She hopes to get her MFA in creative writing and bring a little justice and flavor to the world with her writing.

It is dark.

In the silence of cool morning,
a woman struggles on her knees to stand.

The basket of flowers secured to her back
weighs her down.

The warm smell of fresh tortillas infuses her body;
she longs to go back inside.

Instead, head bowed, she concentrates on rising to her feet
as husband prepares to lift the great load for an instant--
so that wife may stand.

The moment just before arising from prayer.
La vendedora de flores

His feet are brown and dusty.

Flatfooted, he stands behind her;
body obscured by the oversize basket filled
with white calla lilies.

The largest nest
crowded with
the whitest birds.

Throats open;
not quite singing, not quite crying.

Her hair is thick and shadowy.

Parted and pinned, it is tight;

A worn beige rebozo wilts softly
over her shoulders.

it may provide some protection
from the constant rubbing of
straw on a weary
back and arms.


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