Your Birth | Norma Liliana Valdez

we met in the  

       after

minutes  passed  until              

       first-cry    



in a morning already auctioning

       lungs

       you were eyes    quiet



I held you        with my breath

my milk           would not let



like a sentence            death came young                               

       for you



my seed 

       you turned defiant

       sprouted towards sun



for a life

       splendid     and full



Hecha en México, Norma Liliana Valdez made her way to California in her mother’s pregnant belly. She is an alumna of the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop, the Writing Program at UC Berkeley Extension, and was a 2014 Hedgebrook writer-in-residence. A member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop and a CantoMundo fellow, her work appears in The Rumpus, Huizache, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and the anthology Latinas: Struggles & Protests in 21st Century USA, among others. Her chapbook, Preparing the Body, is forthcoming in fall 2019 from YesYes Books.  For the narrative behind this poem, check out her essay, “Inheritance”, in The Rumpus.

 

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