Margaret (Peggy) Rozga teaches creative writing and multi-cultural literature at the University of Wisconsin Waukesha. She has had poems included in six collaborative shows with visual artists, including Collaborative Vision: Poetic Dialogue, a show at the Chicago Cultural Center January through April 2009 and Threaded Metaphors, opening at the Charles Allis Museum in Milwaukee in May 2009. Her play March On Milwaukee: A Memoir of the Open Housing Protests has been produced four times since April 2007. She has been a resident at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology and at the Ragdale Foundation. Her poems and essays have also appeared in many literary journals, including Main Street Rag, Out of Line,Blue Mesa Review, Apple Valley Review, Passager, and Wisconsin Magazine of History.
200 Nights and One Day, with a foreword by Dick Gregory, was published in February 2009 by Benu Press, who nominated this book for an Independent Book Publishers Award. The book has also been nominated for the Shenandoah Glasgow Prize. Available through Amazon or through www.benupress.com
In the photograph dated a year before
I was born, my mother, dressed for a party,
Sits at the edge of a garden, the turquoise
Skirt of her cotton dress flared out
In a twist of a circle around her.
No other party-goers appear in the picture.
The trim across the bodice is stark white,
Fresh white the vertical trim along wide shoulder straps
Bold white the plastic frames of her sunglasses
A blush on her cheeks, hair dark, mouth open as if
About to speak. You can’t photograph words.
Vines crisscross in the distance behind her
Like a giant green net in which she is caught
Unwilling. Unable to smile, unable to resist
Or assert her desire to be out of the field
Where ripe melon mounds mark the landscape.
What photographer holds her here? Dad?
Oh, what if he had let her go?
Originally published in Apple Valley Review
Wealth of the World
Green, amber, clear
Bottles of chablis, merlot, retsina
Golden rounded loaves
White flour puffed into flaky rolls
Whole Atlantic salmon
Fillets of whitefish
Ruddy swordfish steaks
Frozen pink shrimp half moons
Breaded chicken patties
Links of fat sausages
The crowning glory
Produce in a riot of color
Lobed peppers thick green as a rain forest
Red as a child might imagine the heart
Yellow like field daffodils
Orange at once pale and intense
Shouting buy me, stir fry me
With sweet green and white garden onion
And coins of yellow and green summer squash
Melons sing green, red, peach
Halved or cubed to spare us trouble
Next to thick diamonds of pineapple
Some cored to show more gold
I’m half-delirious anticipating
Full fantasy of flavor
But by what desserts
What have I, we, you, full, done
When half a world away, other
Stalls, bins, counters, shelves, colors
Why she, he, they, empty, undone?
Originally published in Out of Line