Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism

LEARNING MY NAME

We have a dialogue, this tree and I,
back to my first lonely run across
the morning, light pursuing me
like a bandit threatening anonymity.
I point it out, now, to my husband,
Look! There it is—my tree.
But on that dawn, jogging up the hill,
my heart feuding with itself,
blood goosestepping in my temples,
my chest, I thought I'd die,
before I'd reached the top—still,
up I went, up the slick slope
to the plateau, where I collapsed
at the foot of the giant pin oak
and lay there in the green lull till
breath came easy, lay there
a good hour inhaling the dark fumes
of mould and peat moss and
regenerating worms. When I sat up
and looked around me, I was landlocked,
beached. I, who'd grown up defying
the surge and undertow of seas
and oceans—earthbound! Yet
I had come to cherish this land,
its contours comforting as dawn,
reassuring as my grandmother's arms
had been, ready always to bear my pain.
In the distance I could see a fox
strutting across the meadow, above me
sparrows weaving their nest, above
them a hawk on the lookout for game—
Oh, I was happy—I guess.
I leaned back against the tree,
patted the jagged bark behind me
in a reverse embrace and heard—
I swear!—clear as a whisper of love—
I heard my name.

g l o r i a   v a n d o
k a n s a s   c i t y   //   p u e r t o   r i c o


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