top of page


ire’ne lara silva



this is what they will not tell you

and this is what you must know

if you hear nothing else i say

hear this

you cannot live in fear

you cannot heal in fear

fear will never make you stronger


fear is the language many doctors speak

they’ll say this is going to kill you

your organs are being bathed in acid

amputation dialysis coma death


and when the body does not obey

as the doctor demands

more pills

more insulin

more syringes

more often


and it will wear on you

the constant battle of

necessity versus necessity


a box of syringes


gas money


the price of sufficient insulin


the cost of groceries


testing strips and lancets


the light bill


the cost of one healthy meal


the cost of three fast food meals


another co-pay

and another co-pay


the cost of not seeing the doctor


they will say there are no choices

but there are always choices

though the choices

we make out of fear

are not choices


fear is a prison

fear is worse

than the disease





some will say this is war

war raging within us

blood turned against itself

our bodies falling in battle

the enemy everywhere

within and without


but the word war

turns us against ourselves

and the word disease

renders us victims

and the war is unending

and a war always claims



in a war

there is no room

for dreaming oneself well

and the first part of the dream

is learning to listen

to your body and to your blood


it is not as simple


eat this not that eat that not this

take this not that take that not this

do this not that do that not this


you learn to listen

until you are the one writing the song

and the daily challenges

are the discordant notes

you must work into the score

making something more beautiful

than what there was before

not planned not wanted

but more powerful

because it is truth


but the music

will not come

if you are afraid

music like most things in life

enters in only one of two ways

el amor o el dolor

through love or through pain


i know

no one said

 we were worthy of love

 no one said

we were precious

or that our lives were gifts

no one said

let us learn to love ourselves

heal ourselves

care for ourselves

care for each other

teach each other

how to begin

with this essential task


loving ourselves


i will begin here

with these words

learning love

one utterance at a time


i will not


in fear


i will make song


(written with Moisés S. L. Lara)


whispering when he sings whispering we are the last memories before waking whispering when he sings when he sings no mourning did not come no we keep forgetting we will not remember there were ghosts here before death came there will be ghosts here after the living leave know that mourning did not come no no remembering no forgetting


silence came in the dark and stood in the morning light silence held the broken sounds silence shifted in its chair and silence made the beds silence ran outside embraced all the dead trees silence turned off the lights and told the walls to fall silence left and left the gate door open inviting in solitude there is no place where solitude has not entered


he woke so many times in the night never calling for anyone but with stories spilling out of him memories bruised from handling and memories never touched perfectly preserved and dangerous they left splinters they left glass they left spines they imploded and ate parts of his soul he woke so many times in the night and woke me so i could listen


there are words born of silence words born of violence others have always entrusted to me even before i knew what loss was they lived like blooms within and every new story is like rainfall fear of death fear of alone fear of being abandoned fear of pain others bring me their stories i could only bear them because i had song songs to make me strong


whispering when he sings whispering i always wanted to hear his voice singing he never understood what medicine it was never wondered what invites in the song what is the darkness descending inside and out how do you climb the song towards the light life sings life sings we keep forgetting we will not remember only the song remembers


silence came in the dark and stood in the morning light silence held the broken sounds shadows don’t sing shadows eat the silence and let it out again silence ran outside where there are no more gardens and the earth beckons with its stillness no rivers here silence left and left the gate door open there is no place where solitude has not been




this is a song i didn’t know

needed singing needed singing


a song for each morning

a song for each night


offered with awareness

offered with gratitude


decades have passed i did not

know your colors your shapes


the work you do have done

or what you needed from me


now i know this song needs singing

i will sing it everywhere i go


i name you now breathe softly

upon you hold you tenderly within




you are not forgotten never

you are cherished and i am grateful


i bring you rainwater and riverwater

i bring you flowers tiny blue flowers


i bring you these my two hands filled

with sun light with starlight


i sing you strong sing you whole

and thank you for filtering my blood




be strong little heart as strong as you

have ever been you are my life


when i am still i hear your beating

feel it in my chest hold you close


in a dance that will not pause while

we are living i envision the flow of blood


flowing to you flowing from you moving easily

moving swiftly through wide open blood vessels




you have been sleeping little warrior

it is time to wake time to speak again


i will bring you morning serenades

cascading flower petals and trilling birdsong


you fought the rising glucose hordes fought

until you were spent until you could not go on


years now i have lived on foreign insulin

always approximate subject to wild swings


of not enough too much almost in time

i long for your fine tuned calibration


i see you rising i hear you murmuring

words spoken at dawn i greet you




lean i dream you lean see you lean and dark

brow furrowed ferociously inspired sculptor


ferociously creating ferociously shaping each

work of art as if it were the first time the only time


as if you were recreating the ocean the stars every minute

you are not a factory not an assembly line


i bring you milk thistle i bring you flax seed in thanks

you are re-creating my life your art is my life




you tell me stories without you there are no stories

without them i would know nothing understand nothing


of the world within or the world without

you are the carriers of lightning of moonlight


you tell me i am alive you tell me i am safe

because of you the exquisite the tender of my life


and also the pain and also the hurt the sharp the ache

but tell me stories i will always be listening 




hot breath tender touch running bare-fleshed in the rain

the warmth of the sun the chill of winter days the wind


my boundaries my beginnings my endings my whole

life the whole world written on my skin my skin sings


i will bring you gifts in thanks jojoba aloe avocado sweet

almond oil cocoa butter calendula shea butter and lanolin




for me everything begins with you I could spend days staring

at the sky day or night or morning or fog or thunderstorm


so much sweetness in looking at green leaves bright colors

loved faces blossoms rivers rainfall sunshine long roads


in my memories everything begins with what you’ve given me

i remember my life in a million images you brought me


and all the words of my life all the books of my life

for all the flames and the moonlight all my gratitude





liver….skin….eyes….all my body


please forgive any harm

i have caused you


thank you for this day for

every day you have given me


now i know this song needs singing

i will sing it everywhere i go


i name you now breathe softly

upon you hold you tenderly within

-from Blood Sugar Canto (Saddle Road Press), selected by Spring 2024 Guest Editor, Sheila Black

ire’ne lara silva, the 2023 Texas State Poet Laureate, is the author of five poetry collections, furia, Blood Sugar Canto, CUICACALLI/House of Song, FirstPoems, and the eaters of flowers, 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. Her first comic book, VENDAVAL, will be released by the Chispa Imprint of Scout Comics in April 2024. Website:

bottom of page