Claudia Castro Luna becomes Washington’s next poet laureate on February 1, 2018.
She was the Seattle Civic Poet from 2015-2017.

Her new book Killing Marias: A Poem for Multiple Voices is now available.
You can follow her on Twitter at @ClaudiaC_L

Lyric for a day like today

by Claudia Castro Luna

Imagine every spoken word
as part of a very large scaffold
that when we hear “hold” and “please”
steel decks, posts and leveling jacks
shift this way and that
and from all the words repeated
— everyday the same —
the shape of the city emerges


Imagine this city as the external
machination of what we think
which is what we say
cranes swivel, tunnels get built
businesses fold, new ones thrive
restaurants open, schools close
we speak the city and it becomes
a creation assured by words


Yet along the avenues nothing changes
dogs still bark across fences
sisters still hold grief
and laughter in their cupped hands
unrevised lexicons frame
the structures that support us
some try, and do, use an alternate syntax
but lateral loads resist


We talk the city
as we boast so is the map drawn
we make and discard, taste and chew
forks clink against fine porcelain
hope shoots from shadows
roses push past thorns
after rain a rainbow, in its afterglow
unbearable things both dwindle and grow

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Poem used courtesy of Cascadia Magazine

Photo credit: Space Needle under construction, 1961. Photo courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY-SA 2.0.