Poem of the Week, by Claribel Alegria

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Moments: the tray of baked chicken and peas and applesauce that quiet night in the hospital. The first grade teacher who kept me in from recess but refused to tell me what I was doing wrong. How I tried to pick the green nail polish off my fingers at my grandmother’s funeral. That day on the train when he silently put his hand over mine. The morning the phone rang and I knew, I knew, I knew. The look on his face when he saw me standing by the hockey rink. My best friend’s green waitress apron with its deep pockets filled with tips. How we sat on the floor late at night counting them up. When I think of my life it’s only the moments that come shimmering up.

Summing Up, by Claribel Alegria, translated by the author and Darwin J. Flakoll

In the sixty-three years
I have lived
some instants are electric:
the happiness of my feet
jumping puddles
six hours in Machu Picchu
the buzzing of the telephone
while awaiting my mother’s death
the ten minutes it took
to lose my virginity
the hoarse voice
announcing the assassination
of Archbishop Romero
fifteen minutes in Delft
the first wail of my daughter
I don’t know how many years yearning
for the liberation of my people
certain immortal deaths
the eyes of that starving child
your eyes bathing me in love
one forget-me-not afternoon
the desire to mold myself
into a verse
a cry
a fleck of foam.

For more information about poet and “voice for the voiceless and the dispossessed” Claribel Alegria, please click here.​

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