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Oral History

September 9, 2008

You’re dead but your voice spins
out from tape cassettes, reels me
back to my child-bed, storytelling
in the dark. While my teenagers bend
to kiss me good-night, I’m lullaby-
rocked by your rhythms,
like a mother’s heartbeat, familiar,
comforting old friends, stories
with names wearing high collars
like Nepomuceno and Anacleta
who walk in genteel shoes on the dirt
streets of tongue-twister towns

Cuauhtemoc and Cusihuirachic.
You’re dead but you walk
and talk in my dreams
night after night we’re together
you’re savoring the taste of your stories
your face lively with life
not the gray, boney silhouette
breathing loudly in that pale
hospital room where I’d whisper

stop stop

No. You’re my grand wolf again
Lobo, as you dubbed yourself
when you claimed four of us
as your lobitos, little wolves
who even now curl round the memory
of you and rest peacefully
in your warmth.

Pat Mora

This poem is from Mora’s My Own True Name: New and Selected Poems for Young Adults (2000),  Piñata Books.

My Own True Name

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