Carmen Tafolla is the award-winning author of more than twenty books, for both children and adults, and has received numerous recognitions and literary awards, the most recent being named by Mayor Julián Castro as the Inaugural Poet Laureate of San Antonio. San Antonio is the first major city in Texas to name a Poet Laureate. A native San Antonian from a family who has lived here for more generations than our recorded history, Tafolla teaches at the University of Texas San Antonio, where she is Writer-in-Residence for Children’s, Youth, & Transformative Literature.
San Antonio is a young Yanaguana woman
By Carmen Tafolla
all spirit, strength and spark
her skin a cinnamon summer, an autumn pecan
her eyes steady stars in October’s dark sky
arms graceful as weeping willow branches
she unravels her hair
that long dark wave of a river
winding, winding right through our hearts
pouring clear through our dreams
that’s when she sings
in ancient rhythms of her native tongue
unconquered tunes twirled like mesquite bark
gnarled like the centuries of river oak
shaping the gentleness of buffalo grass
the wildness of wind
a melody trickling cool as river water
San Antonio is a
who learned Spanish
and then English
and then Tex-Mex
or German, Vietnamese, Czech, Greek, Karén
and a hundred other flowing tongues
to lull the child to sleep
San Antonio is a
young strong smart
who sings chants calls declaims exalts
in all the languages
of her embroidered rebozo
bordado con colors and cultures
but never once forgets
the hum and the rumble
of her still-growing
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