Sunday, April 7, 2019

Heather Lang Cassera and Her Stacking Doll (The Tattooed Poets Project)

Today's tattooed poet is Heather Lang Cassera, who shared this cool photo of her awesome tattoo:

Heather had this tattoo done at Slave to the Needle (@slavetotheneedle) in Seattle. She tells us:
"The stacking doll is in memory of my great grandma who inspired me in many ways. For example, she always wanted to go to China, and I've had the opportunity to study Mandarin in Tianjin and Beijing. I inherited a set of stacking dolls from her, and I am so grateful to have them."
The poem she sent along is also in remembrance of her great grandmother. Versions of this poem were previously published in volume 8 of the anthology Back to Where You Once Belonged: Las Vegas Writers Weigh The Power of The Past (Huntington Press, 2017) and in her chapbook I was the girl with the moon-shaped face (Zeitgeist-Press, 2018).


When I was young,
I’d ask for Grandma Busha.
Pick one or the other,
the adults would say.
You don’t need to say Grandma Grandma.
But there’s something about redundancy.
Some folks put cinnamon on their tongues,
& they call it a dusting.
They call it anti-inflammatory.
To me, it’s the soil of certain memories,
sprinkled over sugar & over butter
& on top of Wonder Bread.
It is something that is constant.
It is something that is passed down
from mother to child even though
we no longer speak the language.
Busha isn’t Polish,
a man once told me.
Apparently, it’s Polish-American slang,
& no one knows where or when it began,
but even when our throats
are sore & red,
we still toast
our cinnamon-sugar bread
because some things
need to be repeated.
~ ~ ~

Heather Lang Cassera holds an MFA in Poetry with a Certificate in Literary Translation. In 2017 she was named Las Vegas' Best Local Writer or Poet by the readers of KNPR’s Desert Companion. Her poems have been published by or are forthcoming with The Normal School, North American Review, Pleiades, South Dakota Review, and other literary journals, and have been on exhibit in the Nevada Humanities Program Gallery. Heather curated Legs of Tumbleweeds, Wings of Lace, an anthology of literature by Nevada women, funded by the Nevada Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts. She serves as World Literature Editor and book reviewer for The Literary Review, Faculty Advisor for 300 Days of Sun, and Co-Publisher for Tolsun Books. At Nevada State College, Heather teaches Composition, Professional Writing, World Literature, and more.

Thanks to Heather for sharing her cool tattoo and lovely poem with us here on the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2019 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

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