Recorded by Brenda Cárdenas, September 16, 2016.

About this poet

Brenda Cárdenas was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She received a BA from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 1987 and an MFA from the University of Michigan in 1995. She is the author of Boomerang (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2009). Cárdenas served as the Milwaukee poet laureate from 2010 to 2012. In 2014, the Library of Congress recorded a reading of her work for their Spotlight on U.S. Hispanic Writers. She currently teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

Calculations

“I don’t know what to tell you.
Your daughter doesn’t understand
math. Numbers trouble her, leave
her stuck on ground zero.”

                               Y fueron los mayas
                               quienes imaginaron el cero,
                               un signo para nada, para todo,
                               en sus gran calculaciones.

                Is zero the velvet swoop into dream,
                the loop into plumes of our breath?

“I suggest you encourage languages.
Already she knows a little Spanish,
and you can teach her more of that.
She lives for story time.”

                In the beginning there was nothing.
                Then the green of quetzal wings.

                               Las historias siguen cambiando,
                               sus verdades vigorizadas
                               con cada narración
                               como X x X = X2

From Boomerang. Copyright © 2009, Bilingual Press / Editorial Bilingüe, Arizona State University.

From Boomerang. Copyright © 2009, Bilingual Press / Editorial Bilingüe, Arizona State University.

Brenda Cárdenas

Brenda Cárdenas

Brenda Cárdenas is the author of Boomerang (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2009). She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

by this poet

poem

This for the timbaleros, percussionists, tin-tun-teros,
those who tap with spoons on their stoves
with pencils on their desks
with nails and knuckles on tables, beds, their own heads
with fists against walls
and fingers on the spines and curves of their lovers,

2