TO THE MUSE

Nieves
Is a girl
From Scranton, Pennsylvania,
Came to San Francisco
To the poetry, the music, the cafes,
And art as Turkish Bath.

And had been told
A grandmother she’s never seen in Mexico.
She goes

To visit that small village. Grandmother
A little woman ninety-two years old
Who greets her standing on a path
Before the house her father told her of

‘A miracle’, she says, ‘One of my own.’

To this American young girl. So now you know, Nieves,
Now you know.

One likes to think of Nieves, twenty three years old
And small and slim in coffee houses and cafes
Who has her knowledge secret from those denizens
Of what a woman is.

  — George Oppen (1908 – 1984), Pulitzer Prize winning poet