J. Michael Martinez is a young poet but already one with impressive credentials. A graduate of Northern Colorado University (B.A.) and George Mason University (M.F.A.), his poems have appeared in New American Writing, Five Fingers Review, The Colorado Review, and Crab Orchard Review, among others. He received the 2006 Five Fingers Review Poetry Prize and his collection Heredities: Poems received the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. He is currently studying for his Ph.D. in literature at the University of Colorado at Boulder. You can find his web site and blog here.
This poem is from Heredities (2010).
The Lady of Guadalupe’s Dream and Jade Ruin
And she said: Does darkness list our erasures and become beautiful?
And she said: This I love, I translate into advent and wild foxgrape,
the blind staggers of water.
And then she said: The dead will return, narrow gates unlatched.
To which she replied: His body is air written between my hands.
Which is when she carved an arrow upon linden, leaf & chaff.
Which is when the butterflies hatched from her footprint.
Which was how she cut her fingers with seaweed and bitter jewel.
Which was when our martye became the hour of unsung reeds.