April 2, 2021
Women's History Month showcase: Art and poetry from women at Reading Partners
In honor of Women’s History Month, we wanted to hear from some of the creative, inspiring, powerful women that make up the Reading Partners team. The showcase featured art, poetry, side hustles, and more from our female staff and AmeriCorps members. Here are just a few of the original pieces shared during the showcase.
I have two poems I wrote, one for each of my grandmothers. The first I wrote for the funeral program for my mom’s mom who died in April of 2018, the last surviving grandparent I had. The second I wrote during holy week a few years ago for my dad’s mom, Esther White, who died in April of 2008. I wasn’t particularly close to either grandmother, but I loved them both and know they loved me, and their legacies and the memories I do have of them still have a profound effect on my family and my own identity.
Our grandmother, a mystery, began her winding life’s journey
On west coast mountain roads, through Norcal forests and gold valleys.
Catholic marries Baptist and takes root in Trinity
Begetting many members of a brand new family.
California, Oklahoma, and to the land beyond —
Where all you’ve been, we can’t have gone.
There has been darkness; your soul found Light
Above the clouds, in blackest night,
The stars tell your story; Love shows the way
By handwritten letters and angels’ play.
No final words, no last amends, but that’s not how this story ends —
We know you’re with Papaw again.
With that blessed hope, our hearts will yearn
Until the day that it’s our turn.
I don’t remember
my grandma died.
I never knew her
She stayed in the kitchen
most of the time.
I can hear her
the other room.
I can see her big glasses,
her fluffy gray hair,
her perfect, false teeth.
She’s wringing her hands,
pruney from washing dishes.
She’s shaking together
semi-sweet chocolate chips
and mini-marshmallows for me to eat
from a little blue cup.
She’s turned on Curious George
for me to watch.
I smell the linens
sitting in the closet.
I smell the roast beef,
the onions and radishes –
she always put radishes in the salad.
She always drank sweet tea.
I didn’t like it.
Instead, she would pour Dr. Pepper for me
in an identical, but smaller, glass.
I can almost hear her speak.
I can almost hear her say
she left the corn in the microwave
again, by accident. “My, my.”
I can almost hear her
When Cielo is not raising funds for Reading Partners, she’s working on the small business she co-owns with her good friend. Rock Paper Plant specializes in botanical workshops and creations using live plants, cork, and fiber. Cielo is mostly in charge of the fiber end of Rock Paper Plant’s work. She teaches workshops and develops DIY kits using the art of needle felting.
turn to liquid raindrops:
as they bubble
she releases the steam;
when a storm brews
she’s always ready to dance in it;
and when they congregate,
and the weight
like it was her plan all along.
A smile that drains me
of it all, so we can start
more loyal than the sun,
I fear more often I’ll wake up
than the day she isn’t there.
Hope for My World
For myself, it isn’t all about where I have been.
I must try to right my path and steer it straight again.
I hope I learn to let go of the pains of yesterday.
I hope I take their lessons and put them into play.
I hope that grace and kindness color all I do and say.
I hope I rise to meet the challenge of each coming day.
For students of all ages with such challenges to fight,
May you learn it’s worth the work to make it come out right.
I hope you have the food to fill your heart and soul each day.
I hope you know I strive to hear each thought you have to say.
I hope you learn great character will guide you on your way.
I hope you grow to fill the role you have the gifts to play.
For my city in this time of illness and unrest,
May we each rise up and put our ideals to the test.
I hope we will do the work. We each will have our say.
I hope understanding will evolve along the way.
I hope we will learn the value of each soul in play.
I hope our example puts humanity on display.