Friday, November 15, 2013

Poem of the Week: Naomi Ayala

  No. 13, for Remembering

Two blocks away
where yellow cabs
zip by without stopping
and the prostitute with the skinny legs
asks for a cigarette
from under her giant,
black umbrella,

in the corner's rain
where some children
are dangerous,
can tell our future
and bet on broken love
between the dreams,

I don't know where my hands begin
and my heart ends.

Oak trees line the sidewalk,
small birds carry spring twigs
above fast-food waste,
and the bold races of rats,
like ghosts of a lost memory,
point to the day of the week.

I don't know where the face of change
is not my own face.

A cold wind picks up.
A man abandons himself
to a tambourine and harmonica--
not praising, not denouncing,
only leaving this place with this sound.

I don't know where we will
end up and begin

but I want to note
that we have been here,
that we too were invisible
and we too were seen.

-Naomi Ayala

From Calling Home: Praise Songs and Incantations  
(Bilingual Review Press, 2013)

Used by permission.   

A native of Puerto Rico, Naomi Ayala is the author of three books of poetry, Wild Animals on the Moon (Curbstone Press), This Side of Early (Curbstone Books: Northwestern University Press), and Calling Home: Praise Songs and Incantations (Bilingual Review Press). She is the translator of a book of poems by the Argentinean poet Luis Alberto Ambroggio, The Wind's Archeology (Vaso Roto Ediciones: Mexico), winner of the 2013 International Latino Book Award for Best Nonfiction Book Translation. Among her other recognitions are a Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy of Environmental Justice Award and Special Recognition for Community Service from the U.S. Congress. Naomi received her MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College.

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