ISSUE FOUR
August 1998

David Shevin

David Shevin David Shevin is the author of several books including Needles and Needs, (1994 Bottom Dog Press) and has published work in numerous magazines over the years. In 1994, he won a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.
Hermana Sandinista    Click to hear this poem in RealAudio


Sabbath Queen smiled on Sandusky Bay
and clouds broke over the rainbow painted
silo caps. Something was shaking
at the UAW hall — cars poured in
and travel itself was traveling. Poets
converged on the downtown cafe.

The evening owned itself, and the lake
drank its own water. How perfect
the happiness bathing the moment,
a new landspeed record for grace
to the heart. In a more private place
Lucien was moving to her first private flat

at last. Five years since she immunized
the children in the health campaigns,
and seven since service (El Chile, Matagalpa)
during the literacy campaigns — where
her older friend Nestor was disappeared
before he could write the summary letters —

and now the cool North air, the plenty
and clean water of Ohio becomes the scene
where she can unpack the Victoria crate,
place her family and her father's Chinese
inscription to her very own plaster.
Every day we find ways to mind over

what matters. "I have my own house,"
she burbles into the telephone to one
who sheltered her frantic, "illegal"
arrival. "Oh, you must know how exciting
I am in my place!" Near the house where
she grew, in shadow of broadcast antenna

(Radio Sandino now a Católica station)
a teachers strike mounts a mobilization,
and this time the demand isn't wages,
it's books. Back from vacation (the beach,
Costa Rica) her parents reopen the housefront
cafe. On shimmering wire, their daughter

sounds clear and so happy. For this
is a night when a generous world
embraces its scattered and farflung children,
a night when grown children permitted
to play among one another embrace or
make love or find hope or gather blessings

for another morning, or another.
El alma es como una muchacha
besuqueada detras de un auto,
sings the cardenal, on one branch
then another, momentarily. It's night
that one can imagine the needed books

will arrive, somewhere South. For these
blessed children — safe with their posessions —
may be scattered and different as fingerprints
but they have their boxes with them
in rooms that seem safe and private
and wind blows as cool as a lemon, and sweet.

 

 

David Shevin: Poetry
Copyright © 1999 The Cortland Review Issue FourThe Cortland Review