Poem of the Week, by Javier Etchevarren

I read this poem the other day, my first time reading this poet. The scenes being described were so ordinary but slightly weird, like the image of a mother waiting at school with an apple pie for her grown son. I was zipping right along, happy that the family in the poem had come to this peaceful time in their lives together, the sadnesses and strain behind them, and then I came to the ending. And thought, This is one of those poems that does what poems can do.

– Javier Etchevarren, translated from the Spanish by Jesse Lee Kercheval

Mama works less
and hugs me more.
She waits for me
at the school doors
with an apple pie
(no matter that I
am 30 plus years old).

My older brother
has not lost his job.
he has quit smoking
in our bedroom.

My middle brother
has stopped breaking
his back for others
and uncorks an expensive wine.

My father
—who has quit drinking—
returns to the house
and asks forgiveness.
We forgive him.

We smile for the picture
while weeping with joy:
all my family reunited
in this poem.


For more information on Javier Etchevarren, please click here.

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