Virginia Barrett

Cemetery with Vallejo

“Hoy no ha venido nadie;
y hoy he muerto qué poco en esta tarde!”
—César Vallejo

Bodies sough under the cracked
earth of their burial mounds.

Wind spins rusted whirligigs; dulls
with dust the brilliant dye of plastic
petals the sun fades anyway.

Today no one has come;
and today I have died so little this afternoon!

Crow sways like a black shade. Hand-
hewn crosses incline toward the lofty
cottonwood he commands.

Forging through a waterless gorge, Ant has
a revelation: “Caw is another
word for god!”


Virginia Barrett

A decade ago, I enrolled in an intensive classical yoga mediation course and was initiated into a mantra by my spiritual guide, Swami Sitaramananda, from the Sivananda lineage. These studies of classical meditation and yoga, based in Vedantic philosophy, have been very settling and transformative for me. I first started the practice of yoga in 1999 and meditation followed in 2001, but six more years passed before I made the journey to a traditional ashram to immerse myself. They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears.

Virginia Barrett’s books of poetry include Between Looking, Finishing Line Press (forthcoming, 2019), Crossing Haight, and I Just Wear My Wings. Barrett is the editor of two anthologies of contemporary San Francisco poets including OCCUPY SF: Poems From the Movement. Her work has most recently appeared in the Writer’s Chronicle, Narrative, What Rough Beast, Roar: Literature and Revolution by Feminist People, Ekphrastic Review, Weaving the Terrain (Dos Gatos Press), and Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice (University of Arizona Press). She received a 2017 writer’s residency grant from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of Taos, New Mexico. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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