Poetry / Adela Najarro
:: Volcanic Heat ::
When my father became a letter, my mother ate a wedding cake that no one could see, then turned up the music and began to dance. The volcano inside her was quiet, and she was calm. The volcano wasn’t something she could lose. It had always been with her. Once while standing at the rim, a lava lake roiling below, my mother knew that it wasn’t too late. So she started with what she needed to do: sold a golden crucifix, said good-bye to her brothers, boarded a Pan Am flight to San Francisco. Then she continued to create possibility by curling hair and setting rollers. She curtailed gossip, and cut the umbilical cords of my brother and I. With the volcano’s heat inside her, my mother changed the landscape. Magma exploded and lava flowed. First, a seismic boom, then fire rocks avalanched down, molten bombs shot into sky, and ash dusted sidewalks with premonitions of coming ghosts. My mother did the impossible: in her old age, with the heat and rage of the volcano capped tight by cooled solid rock, she laughed as a cat chased a squirrel up a tree.
From the writer
:: Account ::
As a child of immigrants, the homeland haunts, and so it remains necessary for me to rediscover my family through poetry as an attempt to understand and articulate migration and its affects on everything that makes a life. My influences are Walt Whitman, Pablo Neruda, and Sandra Cisneros. I claim Anglo/US/British poetry as my legacy, as well as that of Latin America, including the Nicaragüence poet, Rubén Darío, and his modernismo movement with mermaids, castles, and drooping roses.
My mother turned ninety this summer and I love to watch her. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote that to really love someone is to understand them. When in my mother’s company, I “see” who she is and so poems arise. She is memory. She is the past. She is a Nicaraguan caldera simmering through time.
Nicaragua is lined with volcanoes and so I have written a series of poems where each contains a reference to Nicaraguan volcanoes. I love the idea of a volcano—the heat, magma, and overflow. This trope allowed me to tap into the homeland while writing poems that speak to each other.
Adela Najarro is the author of two poetry collections, Split Geography (Mouthfeel Press, 2015), and Twice Told Over (Unsolicited Press, 2015), and a chapbook, My Childrens (Unsolicited Press, 2017), which includes teaching resources for high school and college classrooms. Her poetry appears in the University of Arizona Press anthology The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry, and she has published poems in numerous journals, including Porter Gulch Review, Acentos Review, BorderSenses, Feminist Studies, Puerto del Sol, Nimrod International Journal of Poetry & Prose, Notre Dame Review, Blue Mesa Review, Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere. More information about my poetry and publications can be found on her website: www.adelanajarro.com.