The Cavalry in Oaxaca

(after Rufino Tamayo’s painting El calvario de Oaxaca, 1921)


We all go we are all
souls in summer grass
hoppers in the winter owls
at the crossroads fasting
at cross purposes content
providers bundling anxiety
of influence offerings
well say hello pilgrim
to your feast day is this
natal accounts vary

Women of Tehuantepec, 1938

(after Rufino Tamayo’s painting Mujeres de Tehuantepec, 1938)


If as Shelley argues
sympathy enlarges
imagination then
utility trumps kindness
other becomes load
bearing vehicle means
of transport a sharpened
self congratulating
each island as verdant
all spoken for stories
experience the past
spread in recognizable
patterns and form what
having single filed
floor length skirts
at you looking
do they turn & think


Matthew Woodman

Matthew Woodman teaches writing at California State University, Bakersfield and is the poetry editor for Southern Pacific Review. He also organizes an annual themed journal and reading series of poets from the southern San Joaquin Valley. His own stories and poems appear or are forthcoming in Sierra Nevada Review, Hawai’i Review, The Interpreter’s House, Tishman Review, and The Meadow. More of his writing can be found at