All Commentary
Thursday, May 29, 2014

La Llorona

She hears a voice across the water.
And weeping to remember, gowned
in gray, she can’t recall her daughter.

Her candle wavers on the altar.
They say that she was never found.
She hears a voice. Across the water,

the trees harbor a darker weather.
An oarless rowboat runs aground
and drifts again. And like her daughter,

she wades into the drowsy river—
stone-pocketed, without a sound.
She hears a voice beneath the water

that lingers like a lover’s. Laughter
almost—but softer, colder, drowned
by the shy whimpering of a daughter

who understands that what comes after
is like the weeping of a wound.
She hears the voice. Her only daughter.
Their bodies blossom in the water.

  • Michael Shewmaker is a Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University. He is the recipient of the 2013 Morton Marr Poetry Prize.