• 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

Bring everything

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

plant hope