Sandra Cisneros

As a continuation of highlighting poets for National Poetry Month, I now present Sandra Cisneros.  Born 1954 as the only daughter to a working migratory family who switched between Chicago and Mexico City.  Her family eventually settled down in a Puerto Rican neighborhood outside of Chicago which inspired her novel The House on Mango Street.  Cisneros went on to receive a degree from Loyola University of Chicago and a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa.  Her early-childhood heavily influenced her later writing – especially being the only girl in a family surrounded by strong males.

I’ve decided to include a poem of her’s titled “His Story”

I was born under a crooked star.
So says my father.
And this perhaps explains his sorrow.
An only daughter
whom no one came for
and no one chased away.
It is an ancient fate.
A family trait we trace back
to a great aunt no one mentions.
Her sin was beauty.
She lived mistress.
Died solitary.
There is a well
the cousin with the famous
how shall I put it?
profession.
She ran off with the colonel.
And soon after,
the army payroll.
And, of course,
grandmother’s mother
who died a death of voodoo.
There are others.
For instance,
my father explains,
in the Mexican papers
a girl with both my names
was arrested for audacious crimes
that began by disobeying fathers.
Also, and here he pauses,
the Cubano who sells him shoes
says he too knew a Sandra Cisneros
who was three times cursed a widow.
You see.
An unlucky fate is mine
to be born woman in a family of men.
Six sons, my father groans,
all home.
And one female,
gone.

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