Two Poems by Dana Wildsmith

One Good Hand

Most days I work my jobs with one good hand.
My other hand keeps busy wringing itself.
This morning's work of cutting and killing the privet
was another poem not written, and lesson plans
won't grow from winter garlic I've planted.
I kneel to grub up bulbs, and syllables
mark out their rows in my head; they shift
from foot to foot, waiting to be transplanted.

I have the too-much-to-do blues this week.
You know the words.  Join my chorus
of worth through weariness in a wary land
suspicious of time spent lazily.
Between us, we can sing a hundred verses
while I take time to rest my one good hand.


English as Second Language

"Maestra, is Spanish backward, or is English?"
Back home in Zapogan, Luis wore
sneakers white, but here (aqui) color
asserts itself, comes first (primero).

"Depends on where you are."  My answer
(mi repuesta) is the truest I can give,
based on all I've learned of fitting in,
which isn't much.  Nada mas than this:

as some are emigrants of country,
so I'm an emigrant of my soul.
I never speak the half of what I know
(that language is each culture's shadow)

but teach descriptive form compliantly.
Luis, the world we see is it, not we.
In naming names, there is no posesivo.
Lo tengo por seguro.

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