• by Laurie Posner, MPA, • IDRA Newsletter • January 2019 •
On the occasion of Dr. Robledo Montecel’s retirement, the staff asked former staff member and comadre, Laurie Posner, to write a poem. She presented her artistry, Corazón, at a celebration event in December 2018.
There is heart at the root center of courage.
Looking back, it shouldn’t surprise me that we met in a city,
a gathering-place at the edge and intersection,
where streets wailed with ambulances and taxis 15 floors below
and you told me what was possible for children.
Cuca, you ignite a room, a city, with possibility.
That first meeting, when I left saying, I have met my mentor, would be months before
joining you in Texas where bats tornado from night bridges knowing how
to compose, shift, unify – without seeing – to murmurate
like a starlight symphony.
You shared the story with us about geese. How sometimes
they tire mid-air, so it is never enough
just to fly, one has to know when to fall back, tend to the flock
and honk when it goes astray.
Again and again in this way, you gadflew –
with comadres y compadres –
against the tide
Fighting tirelessly for children,
You had a way of becoming a tide.
Strength comes from family, faith, community, you often said.
Travel. Stay curious. Be rooted
in places like the great plains of the Rio Grande, south of the Edwards Plateau stretching down
toward the river in a dress of grass and a cloak of oak and mesquite
in Milwaukee’s western shores of Lake Michigan where winter rushes in
like a prize-fighter and, in San Antonio, where grackles gather in a pinking-shears sky
and once-lost-things are often found
How did you find this voice that rouses us? You once
told me that a fear of public speaking is overcome by having something that must
– damn it – has to be said.
And I learned so much more about embracing – we all did
when you came into a room, in essence saying
You call forth a stilling,
a settling in of the heart—beloved Friends, does this say it?
Cuca, you are a presence
in the way of great arcipluvian groves
that carry hope of root and fruit
forward and, in turn, under their own great and generous shade