From the Archive: Poet Marian Aitches Reads “San Antonio Summer”

San Antonio native Marian Aitches is one of our featured poets for the upcoming Monthly Literary Evening with VDLL editor Mo Saidi. In 2009, Aitches won the Whitebird Chapbook Series Competition for Fishing for Light, her first book of poetry. As a senior lecturer with the department of History at the University of Texas at San Antonio, her research interests include American Indian cultures and literature, urban history, and ethnic relations.

1.
Before the rain, just before the rain—
a hummingbird lingers at the red mouth
of August. A south wind moves
silver-green sycamore leaves—bees
and butterflies on hot pink penta clusters.
Ginger blooms in high sun; gold esperanza
full against the chain-link fence.
Storm-clouds in from the west—
metal-roof, watery-notes play orange
hibiscus music, riff on yellow lantana,
wash over gardenias and blue
plumbagos, as they push down the drive
to Mission Street—rush south
to the river.
2.
Trapped sixty years in this dead place,
never dreamed. No real trees. Goddamn sun.
Survived a seven-year drought. The 50s.
Damned if I won’t spend the rest of my life
in one. Ignoring the frown on my face,
he explains: Eighty-three now, might make ninety—
that’s seven years before I die.
This morning, rain spills over the gutter,
splashes off ginger, ripples
down bricks on its way to the river.
I phone my Daddy
a few miles away, ask if it’s raining—
though I know it’s not.
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