Emma Trelles

January Space Station

Arriving by window in a drift of blue scarves, light
Floats the alley gate, the hillside road framed with the spines
Of eucalyptus, a woman photographing the hem of the sea.
I walk by men sleeping on the cold ground, where rogue violets also
Endure. I want someone to love them, I want to turn away.
Rain has fed the creek with purpose. My ribs are filled with it too.
At the other edge of the country, my mother coughs and coughs
In the darkness. I ask the great silence to protect her.
If there is a way to mend without words, I’ve never known it.
Look up at the galaxy of sycamore leaves about to let go.
How to touch the star of the day, what it might become.
It’s the longing that keeps me hanging on.

Emma Trelles is the 9th Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara, California (2021-2023) and a Poet Laureate Fellow at the Academy of American Poets. She’s also received writing fellowships and honors from CantoMundo, Letras Latinas, and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. The daughter of Cuban immigrants, she is the author of Tropicalia (University of Notre Dame Press), winner of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, and is completing her second book of poems, Courage + the ClockRecent work is forthcoming or appears in Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and CultureThe Cortland Reviewthe New England Reviewand Pedestal MagazineShe curates the Mission Poetry Series and is the series editor of the Alta California Chapbook Prize. Visit her website here.