Brenda Cárdenas

Pumpkins summersault            across lawns lit by fireflies.                        Scintillating music crickets                                    vertiginous missives    for sunflowers who spill                        sleepy heads to seed.            Tranquilo, mi cariñio,                        I hear your griot heart cleaving            to the moon.                                        Your hymn will be singed hibiscus                        en la madrugada.History will empty its silences                                         from stoneware that pours            a dune of dust at your feet,                        cascades grapes, ginger melons, cassia tea.                                    Feast.Someday, we will all swim            into paleolithic pixels anyway. Let go                        the cruciferous grime, and paint                                    with me this elusive magenta morning.

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Headshot of poet Brenda Cárdenas

Brenda Cárdenas is the author of Trace (Red Hen Press), Boomerang (Bilingual Press) and three chapbooks. She co-edited Resist Much/Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance (Spuyten Duyvil) and Between the Heart and the Land: Latina Poets in the Midwest (MARCH/Abrazo). Her poems and essays have appeared widely in anthologies and journals, including Latinx Poetics: The Art of Poetry; POETRY; Grabbed: Poets and Writers on Sexual Assault, Empowerment, and Healing; Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Anthology, and many others. She has enjoyed collaborating with visual artists, choreographers, and musicians, including composer Daniel Afonso who wrote a choral score to her “Poema para los Tin-Tun-Teros,” which has recently been published by Hal Leonard and will be performed at Carnegie Hall in March 2023. Cárdenas has served as Milwaukee Poet Laureate (2010-2012), and she currently teaches Creative Writing and U.S. Latinx Literatures at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Cover of book entitled "Trace: Poems"

Pasadena, California

“This remarkable collection migrates from outward to inward—ekphrastic poems charged with ars resistencia to biographical poems of childhood wonder, teen rebelliousness, middle age dreams. Throughout, we are immersed in the ‘morphology of dream, the moonmilk of words.’ Cárdenas loves language—each turn of phrase radiates the power of the word to mean, resonate, and transcend. These poems, like a ‘flatbed full of cempazuchil,’ light the way.”
—Valerie Martínez, author of Count, Each and Her, and World to World

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