Friday, June 11, 2021

Three Poems by Emma Trelles, SB Poet Laureate 2021


Emma Trelles

The city of Santa Barbara has appointed its first Latinx Poet Laureate, Emma Trelles. Born in Miami, she is the daughter of Cuban immigrants and now calls Santa Barbara home, where she teaches at the City College. Enjoy three poems by Emma Trelles. Read all about Emma and her plans in the Santa Barbara Independent.

Sonnet for Mark

by Emma Trelles

Now wakes a path between the oaks, now

falls a spell of dove and frog, and stones

dream of their mountain clans and each stick

breaks to hear its name. Now light edges creek

and water appears as a quick coin trick or 

silk pulled from a funnel of months, now

behind us, at last, and shade and sky fill

the mirror moving from next to next. Now

do you see there is no stillness to this world?

Even in sleep a seed is knitting its breach 

from the dark and the body hums 

on the march to becoming less and right

now, words depart then arrive, like a brush

returning to a well of color.

                                                                                            Published in Spillway and Verse Daily

Fable of Frogs

by Emma Trelles

We were all dozing and floating in the night waters of the Redlands, where stars bent light to the ground as if they were still new. 

We were plain and cold to the touch, and we liked it that way.

Routine was our god and so were the winged beads we snapped into our mouths with the speed of pink lightning. We were long years past wishing for what we wanted. We ate and crapped and loved and slept. One evening, there was more.

The dark room of the pond shivered and crickets ceased their one-note demands and knives of sawgrass shook with longing. We began to levitate.

Up into the indigo we opened each juicy eye with care and looked beneath at the peat, at crows smudged on wires that chain words together and roofs like two hands pressed in supplication and signs the color of summer hissing three-thousand promises.

Then, higher, sailing on the heart-shaped rafts that once kept us pinned to what we knew, and were now a promise we were not finished yet.

Below us were children killing minutes, or tracking lilac moths in the hedges, and dogs with little use for flying frogs, and the cats who noticed us and kept silent, as always. We passed over farms and mist and the worn skin of cities, the poisoned land still hanging on.

Some of us dropped into towns where we lived in peace or fell with the rain and disappeared down grates into the kingdoms of refuse and silence.

Some died on the tarmac by the motion that never ceases over this earth. A few slipped away into the broken choirs heard at night, somewhere, beyond sight and even knowing what a thing is despite all the times its voice is heard.

Another way this ends is two of us together, in the farthest away, where the light is hazed and the salt-stripped grasses keep singing, yes, there is life between cliffs and stones huddled in the small and grand forests.

Who knew flight could peel the verve right from you? Or that the crescent moon could find you home, and maybe there is hope anywhere you go, if you take it with you through the cloud of years, it must be carried, it must be carried.

Published in the Miami Rail

The nearest way

by Emma Trelles

Would I consume what I really wanted

only nothing would be left. I am many pigments 

maybe you should figure them out, I’m spent from shining

except when I depart, then my antelope heart sends me 

north to the high lands, where I glow unseen among the pines.

Published in the South Florida Poetry Journal and Salt

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