Mercedes Lucero is the author of the chapbook In the Garden of Broken Things (Flutter Press 2016) and winner of the Langston Hughes Creative Writing Award for Poetry. Her writing has appeared in New Orleans Review, Curbside Splendor, Paper Darts, The Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal, The Pinch, Heavy Feather Review, and Whitefish Review among others. She is a recent Glimmer Train “Short Fiction Award” Finalist and has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is currently the Fiction Editor of Beecher’s and curates a collection of works dedicated to the experiences of autism and developmental disabilities through the online literary magazine, Spectrum Extract. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University and is currently pursuing her PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Kansas.
Root Expressions are from her manuscript, Stereometry. * see note
Below is 4 of 5 in a series of weekly installments for Visitant.
◄ Previous installment: Sadness as a fire √Alarm.
Solution: Tell me how fiercely I came into the world. How you planted me in the backyard when I was just a seedling. Did you plant me in an Iowa cornfield? Under a handful of California sand? Do you remember if it was the backyard in Colorado? Tell me you still planted me even when the landlord told you not to, when the neighbors said nothing ever grew there. Tell me how they said I would never take root. Then tell me how I grew, even when it never rained, even when the weatherman said it was the driest it’s ever been. Tell me how I grew from the soil and about the time I entered the world as if ready to embrace familiar aches. Tell me how you go back to the same place I was born, to that same spot and how even in winter, the flowers still grow.
* Author’s Note on Stereometry
It starts perhaps with thinking about space, about three-dimensional space and later, locating oneself within that space. Lately, I have been concerned with mathematics and arithmetic and seeking patterns within the arrangement of the universe. I gathered textbooks on geometry and cosmology, spent hours solving equations and memorizing theorems. I have made a list of questions related to my hypothesis for further inquiry:
- What are the geometrical properties of a body that turns into itself to feel its own curvatures?
- What is the area of the shape a body makes when it is filled with uncertainty?
- Is there an equation by which I might find the volume of resistance a body creates when it is told that it does not deserve to be erased?
I have surmised that if stereometry is the art and science of measuring solid bodies, then surely, there must also be a way to measure bodies that are not so solid. Surely, there must be a way to measure bodies that are made mostly of water. That cannot help but dissolve and evaporate. Mostly I have been thinking of what to say. Even I know sunlight can be too heavy on the skin.
[Mercedes Lucero | Fred E. Byrd]
►Next installment | June 14th: How our scars √Will fall into place.