Poetry from Cristina Deptula



Eyes closed, hands clasped, breath in rhythm

questing inward to find truth, abandon attachment and ego


Time to yank up straw from arid fields

weave the strands into precious metals

and peer through the jewels of clarity

somehow crystallized from thin air.


Opening up in therapeutic conversation

my shaky feet fall through the water as I seek

to cross to the realm of inner understanding

and bring forth insight to feed thousands of hungry dilemmas

like making Stone Soup without the benefit of neighbors


placing myself in line at my own soup kitchen for the good of self and others


introspecting on a mat, on a chair, on a couch

finally doing what I’m told, confronting issues rather

than coping by window shopping for the ruby slippers

I know are beyond my budget

but whose heels I can simply click together

to find my own way home.



I am from Hayward.

I am the person turned away from services when uptown nonprofits close early because the staff just learned at a retreat to make time for self care.

I am the person mocked, later, for being a fundamentalist religious fanatic and likely a Trump supporter, when I go to a local church instead to get the groceries I need.

And I am the person from whom Trump wants to make America safe again.

I am from Hayward.

I’m that bad rape survivor who won’t report what happened because I can’t have folksĀ blaming me for being out at night. I need to work those long hours to feed my kids and don’t need tension at home.

I’m the bad domestic violence survivor with their ex on speed dial. They’re family, and I need their income after I got laid off for leaving work early to make it back to the shelter by curfew. And prison will only make them angrier.

I’m the bad environmentalist with a gas guzzling car I can’t afford to replace, and no budget for organic food. Although I picked up trash by the creek and planted flowers.

I am from Hayward.

I’m the teenager in trouble with the law, failing school, needing to work to help support my family rather than preparing for jobs that no longer exist.

I’m the adult who had that job that no longer exists, when I was back in my country, but got turned away from minimum wage work here because of my shaky English.

And I am the senior citizen with wisdom to share who gets mocked as backward because I don’t know the correct modern tech or social justice terms. And I am the family caregiver, tired of being asked when I will get a real job with a paycheck.

When you ask me to help your causes and fight for you, perhaps I will.

I’ll lend my tired shoulders and worn out car and one more homemade casserole. Not because you asked, but because I choose to stand beside you.

I am from Hayward.


3 thoughts on “Poetry from Cristina Deptula

  1. Cristina, surely Hayward has positive stories too, but this an insightful look at those living life on the edge, full of complications and dangers and vulnerabilities. Making it personal from your own town is powerful, though of course these stories exist all over the world. Well-done!

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