May 4, 2016

Bonnie Amesquita – Six Poems

Bonnie Amesquita – Six Poems

Editor’s Note: We are pleased to bring you this collection of poems about faith, loss, love and growing older. Bonnie’s poetry speaks directly to the reader and reflects on the people and events all around us. Enjoy!


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How Do You Comfort?

How do you comfort someone who grieves

Sorry for your loss

Our prayers are with you



Words fail

and sometimes offend

Sorry for what?

You didn’t give her cancer

Cause the car crash

You didn’t do anything wrong

You didn’t have anything to do with it


Words don’t help

They push us away

Bury us with our dead

Sequester our tears behind polite smiles

Thank you for coming

Thank you

Thank you

Touch hurts

though hugs and air kisses are obligatory

Don’t go there.

Just be there

Try not to cry.

Just share the ache

feel the rage and deep

deep void

not only at the funeral

but months and years later

knowing nothing you do

will ever matter less

or more.




Some say vanity fades

when eyes dim

and hands lose their grip

on closed jelly jars.

Not true. I am still vain.

I know my blood

is star stuff.

My red and wrinkled face

my wild hair

tell me

I am nova

blistered, exploded

made of worlds

living and dead.

Against dark skies

I shine.



Questions of Faith

Does God live

in the Black Hills,

just behind Abe Lincoln’s stonecut ear?

Or does he live in mosques, cathedrals, storefront churches,

in temple stones waiting to be assembled?

Is God’s body in the bread

or in the breaking of it?


Is God

a Child


Creator made human, born

without benefit of human touch,

could the Son of God and Man,


thrive without a coupling–

a fertile and loving embrace?

Isn’t absence of love

what killed him?


Is God One? One in Three? Three in One?

A multiplex of faces

reflected in sun, moon, stars?

An aboriginal dream?

Or is he just another Adam

nailed to a tree?



Girl’s Crazy 

Girl fancies herself some kinda special

Like God called her up and

said He’d give her a job

if she wanted it


She said she felt it in her gut

Some people’d say that ain’t God callin’

That’s gas

Happens to the best of us every now and then


She sits around prayin’

then writes ‘bout how

locusts grind noisy

how they chew summer heat to shreds.


Well, she’s right about that

Locusts do like to chew

God made’em that way

Ain’t no big thing, though

and she ain’t nothin’ special


She writes stuff like

Deep calls to deep

Mumbles ‘bout memories and dreams

Hell, she can’t tell the difference

between one and th’other


She’ll sit there and wait on God

while the sun boils down

‘Course He don’t show, but

she’ll wait like a spinster

for her prince,

and listen to

locusts chew


Don’t she realize

that’s the closest she’ll ever come

to hearin’ God talk?

That’s the best any of us can ever expect.


She don’t think like that, though

She just sits there and waits

Eventually, she thinks

deep will call to deep,

and God’ll call her name


Once, she said,

all excited and spooky-like,

she saw the Moon turn red–

like that was some kind of sign

but hell

it was just a greasy sky

that night

and she’s just crazy


Somewhere between her all-fired piety

and her pity-poor-me

she thinks she’s gonna hear



but God ain’t talkin’

He shut up a long time ago.

Any fool can tell her that.



Ironing His Shirts

Summer showers turn air

to butter

Sweat greases my skin

Radio’s buzzing juke joint tunes

as steam hisses up from hot cloth––

scorch and dry

I palm and press

each fold and wrinkle

Mmm, but baby,

beneath your collar lingers

the scent of warm smooth skin


Rain falls

steam rises,

and I’m dreaming

we’re strollin’ down streets slick with rain

you and me, and some other

cool cats

in ice cream suits

Panama hats

we shoop shoop

to blues blown breezy, cool

Oooo dance with me, darling

hold me close

fold me in

want to smell your hair

your skin

feel your eyes shine


backlit by heat lightning

and orange neon—


Thunder rolls.

The iron sizzles.

Sweat cools and trickles

down my back and knees

as I press against scented stains

beneath your sleeves

smell your smell

all spice and sweat


Rain falls

Steam rises

I’m hot ‘n meltin’


ironing your shirts.




What’s happening to me?

Suddenly, I’m trying too hard


reminding cocky grad students that

I too have read William Shakespeare

William Carlos Williams

Wallace fucking Stevens…


Oh dear.

Dropping names is like peeing in public–

There’s no dignity in it

and yet


to think I‘ve grown obsolete in other people’s eyes

Everything I’ve done

lives large only in dreams

no one can see but me


I’m still traveling the distance

a long, slow crawl

from old to wise



“Questions of Faith” published in Poets Against the War (, Copyright (c) 2005 Bonnie T. Amesquita. Used by permission of the author.

“How Do You Comfort” published by Heatherhope Farm (, Copyright (c) 2014 Bonnie T. Amesquita. Used by permission of the author.


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Bonnie Amesquita grew up in Illinois and Connecticut.  She attended Joliet Junior College and College of St. Francis in Joliet, IL, earning her bachelor’s degree in English in 1983.  She then enrolled in the master’s program in English at Northern Illinois University (NIU), earning her M.A. in 1989.  That same year, she became an English instructor at NIU.  In 2010, the NIU English department awarded her their Excellence in Teaching award.  Upon retirement from NIU in 2010, she entered Chicago Theological Seminary, where she earned a Certificate of Theological Studies in 2011. She and her husband Ric live in DeKalb, IL.






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1 comment
  • Ryan says:


    Since I started blogging intensively a few months ago, I’ve written a number of personal things in that they came from a personal place; however, I don’t always find that it’s easy for me to make the personal fully accessible to the reader. I’m impressed with how, reading your work, you make the personal be an invitation to us. Personal solicits our attention and investment. Especially in the final piece, there’s a tangible poignancy to be felt. Thank you for your work.

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