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Mary Torregrossa has been active as a poet, host, and workshop leader in the San Gabriel Valley poetry scene. She is a long-standing member (oh, my achin’ feet) of the Emerging Urban Poets writing group in Pasadena. She has recently put together her first chapbook, Sleeping With Roses, a collection of poems inspired by her youth in Providence, Rhode Island. 

Mary's poems have appeared in the RI Roads Travel Magazine, the Inscape Anthology of Pasadena City College, and many local anthologies including the San Gabriel Valley Quarterly. Mary, and her poetry were profiled in the L A TIMES in 2001. She is an ESL teacher, a team artist in the annual Pasadena Absolut Chalk Festival, and a member of the COLORS anti-racism group. She lives in Baldwin Park with her husband, Mynor, their two teenage daughters, Nina and Elaine, and their two dogs, Wishbone and Freckles.

Tea Remedy

This might be my remedy,
this amber signature of tea
set here before us in cups
of glass too hot to touch.
The steam is aromatic
in my head – petals float
upwards, out of reach.
The simmer of my body
hums within
so that I tremble
like an aftershock
of the Sierra Madre,
and rattle silver teaspoons
into saucers – I sit
clenching sugar cubes
in my back teeth
like Esther, or Kobra,
or Zahra might have
years before, or yesterday.
The tonic eases its way
into your explanation
infused with details
of the truth. I listen,
waiting for the tea to cool.


The Miracle

When I asked for you
they told me –
“La bruha se lo llevo.”
The witch has taken him away.
Was it she who wears lace to church?
a black mantilla? Or
she who saw an image
of the Virgin 
on a bathroom floor?
The T V cameras came
and reported the event
so seriously. I looked
and looked for you 
in the crowd
lined up on the freeway –
to witness the milagro – 
an image of a lost child
on a white billboard.
She appeared to me
at first glance!
I saw her clearly.
I looked again
and she was gone –
La bruha se la llevo.


Answer Me This

Do you whistle through your nose,
Does your big toe creak,
Is one eyebrow higher than the other?
Are you deaf in one ear,
Is your tooth cracked,
Does your stomach rumble in church?
Is your index finger crooked,
Do you sneeze real loud,
Does your lipstick end up 
on your teeth?
Are you thirsty all the time
and always have to pee?

Are you me?

© 2005 Mary Torregrossa


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