Poet and social justice advocate, Margaret Rozga has published three books, Justice Freedom Herbs, Though I Haven’t Been to Baghdad, and 200 Nights and One Day. She served as managing editor of the chapbook anthology Turn Up the Volume: Poems about the States of Wisconsin. Her essay “Community Inclusive: A Poetics to Move Us Forward” is included in the anthology Local Ground(s): Midwest Poetics and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She was awarded a 2014 Creative and Performing Artists and Writers Fellowship by the American Antiquarian Society to do research for a new manuscript, Pestiferous Questions.
In the Garden
After Nancy Willard’s “At the Foundry”
Here is an apple, here is a snake
guarding a nude human dreaming herself
legendary. Here is a tree, green cover
to forever wrestling branches. Not here
a gentleman off exploring. Not here
but I could find myself in this garden.
I am the silent creature in it.
Legends come and go, unless sinners invent them.
Then the molten bronze freezes.
Then the copper tree holds firm each twig.
Then the brassy serpent fixes his gaze
and I am transfixed, indifferent to time,
forever about to turn the page.
previously published in Justice Freedom Herbs
My shadow is a silent movie
dark and graceful as Chaplin’s Little Tramp
My face is a shadow of my mother’s.
My sisters and brother favor my dad.
Returning a favor is both the shadow
and substance of gratitude.
Women who hunger for substantial words
emerge from the shadows.
Hunger is a powerful shadow.
Shade is the shadow of color.
Orange colors the monarch,
The owl’s call questions dawn,
sometimes overshadows light.
Imitation is sometimes
the sincerest form of shadowing.
Shadowing those women who hunger
for and learn the magic of face to face,
I face the danger of caring.
I learn to cast spells of my own.
A clean wall freshly painted in the muted
grey green of marsh water tinged with twilight.
A few moments in a bow-back chair
without giving in to its support. Feet
positioned ready to propel her body upward
as if, halfway between the firm fabric of work
and the silken flow of long forgotten pleasure,
she knows what swirl the night sky spells.
She was never one to sleep away her dreams.
She does not look back, does not turn
toward the window, does not pet the dog
who sits at her command yet strains to see
what lies at an oblique angle to her deep
inward gaze at this still moment, now
when colors coalesce and her hands curl
holding a child’s blanket as if about to let go,
as if about to ask, or about to answer.
previously published in Though I Haven’t Been to Baghdad
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