Rachelle Cruz

If ever there was a chapbook filled to the rim with lady rebellion it would be Rachelle Cruz’s Self-portrait as Rumor and Blood. Even the poem titles urge us toward rebellion: “Litany for Silence,” “Cross-Examination” and “How to Fight Back.” But what I like best about her work is how she exposes our vulnerability. The below poem is not a typical confession. It proves we dread what grows inside us, whether it is a child or a book or a painting, creating something new is a risk, indeed, a beautiful fright and often easier to destroy then fully develop. Still, there are spells when we believe we can change what grows inside us—for better or for worse.

The Mother: Confession I

I knew all the poisons,
licked the foulest buds,
drank the ocean daily
to pickle your brine,
brain, body.
Flush those black
eyes out. That brown.
In the morning, he’d
kneel at my feet,
kiss the pulse
in my belly.
After my tonic
of sleep, your wild mess
of hair, those thick, wide feet.
Your eyes healing.
River hyacinths, green,
green, green. Forests of shame.
Took my hand, you came
forth, full. Ocean salted
your skin, aged you,
you beautiful fright,
I want to keep you forever.

Rebellious Women in Poetry (brought to you by rebellious women) is made possible by rebellious women. “The Mother: Confession I” is reprinted from her chapbook Self-Portrait as Rumor and Blood  (Dancing Girl Press, 2012) by permission of the author. Rachelle Cruz is from Hayward, California. She hosts The Blood-Jet Writing Hour on Blog Talk Radio and is a recent recipient of the Manuel G. Flores Scholarship from PAWA (Philippine American Writers and Arists, Inc). The introduction is by Susan Yount, editor of Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal, madam of the Chicago Poetry Bordello & author of Catastrophe Theory.

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