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ire’ne lara silva



in my heart no circus

in my heart no cages

in my heart no stampedes

in my heart no whirlpools

in my heart no quicksand

in my heart no raging fires

in my heart no guilt

in my heart no shame

in my heart no chaos

in my heart no bitterness

in my heart nothing left unsaid


in my heart tawny fields of tall grass

in my heart drifting clouds

in my heart flowering vines

in my heart mesquites and huizaches

in my heart sycamores and cedars

in my heart every small and humble green

in my heart blooming ocotillos and crowns of thorns

in my heart the peaceful lapping of the wide river

in my heart the light of his eyes that will never leave me

in my heart a thousand thousand conversations

in my heart the hand i held even after it went cold


my friend said, you see, hardly anyone knows what peaceful grief looks like


IT'S THE OLD HUNGER TO GROW WILD                                                     

                                                                    and sprout poems

to make composted earth of my flesh and my breath    earth turned

relentlessly and simmered slowly with the weight of memory and

desire and the deep deep clench of muscle and yearning


i ate the seeds i ate all the seeds bit them chewed

them let them rest on my tongue tasted their sweet their

bitter their salt    i gathered the roots gossamer and rough knotted things and

branching masses in my hands and shoved them into my hair


the earth must think us flowers   flowers of meat

and air flowers that grunt and weep and laugh slow flowers that

uncurl and reach for the sun and bloom and seed and

darken and wither and fall   flowers that crumble like all flowers that will feed



i will give you more flowers than you can eat 

push them into your mouth with my mouth  lick them into you   thrust

them into the hollow of your chest  curl them beneath your eyelids 

whisper them over your skin until they dissolve into you


i am eating flowers and the petals are spilling out of

my mouth  out of my eyes  out of me spilling and spilling  i am

birthing flowers   devouring devoured   blooming bursting   i am

eating flowers life eating life death eating death my flesh       





it’s roughly 3 feet by 7 feet

there are no lines to separate

one lot from another


wild grass wildflowers

a few small stones

spillover of red brown mulch

from the lot next to it


it’s quiet here

the traffic is a far off sound

even though the road isn’t far

it’s all the trees mostly oaks

pecans cottonwoods cedars


it doesn’t seem to matter

what time of the year it is

there are always butterflies

birds darting from place to place

green leaves on the trees        

and golden leaves fluttering down


my brother is buried in Lot K31

we bought both plots at the same time

i didn’t know his would be vacant

for such a very short time

i wonder if he knew different

wonder if he held on to make sure

i had a signed contract in hand


he was buried the way he wanted

on a wooden pallet

wrapped in a cotton shroud

surrounded with flowers

from head to foot

a bouquet laid over his chest

no coffin no concrete no embalming

no separation from the earth


before the year is out

it’ll be five months since he was buried

i don’t think it’s my imagination

but the burial mound seems to be

as high as it ever was

the only thing that’s different

is the permanent flat stone

that bears his name

and the dates of his life

and my name for him


when i visit i take

a little stepladder to sit on

i unfold it over Lot K32

because it seems disrespectful

to sit elsewhere and possibly

intrude on someone else’s grave

at least here i know it’s vacant

and i hope to leave it vacant

for at least another three decades

letting the leaves flutter down

and the wild grass grow


i took care of him

for all but seven years of his life

in the afterlife there will be

no need to look after each other

his spirit in the unfurling

of all green things and the dew

is free of all pain and memory

and mine will return to the wind

as free as it ever dreamed of being

but here beneath this earth

we will never leave each other

we will be siblings of the soil

-from the eaters of flowers (forthcoming 2024, Saddle Road Press), selected by Assistant Editor, Karen Carr

ire’ne lara silva, the 2023 Texas State Poet Laureate, is the author of four poetry collections, furia, Blood Sugar Canto, CUICACALLI/House of Song, and FirstPoems, two chapbooks, Enduring Azucares and Hibiscus Tacos, and a short story collection, flesh to bone, which won the Premio Aztlán.ire’ne is the recipient of a 2021 Tasajillo Writers Grant, a 2017 NALAC Fund for the Arts Grant, the final Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award, and was the Fiction Finalist for AROHO’s 2013 Gift of Freedom Award. Most recently, ire’ne was awarded the 2021 Texas Institute of Letters Shrake Award for Best Short Nonfiction. ire’ne is currently a Writer at Large for Texas Highways Magazine and is working on a second collection of short stories titled, the light of your body. A new poetry collection, the eaters of flowers, is forthcoming from Saddle Road Press in January 2024.

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