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By Jimmy Santiago Baca

I am offering this poem to you,

since I have nothing else to give.

Keep it like a warm coat

when winter comes to cover you,

or like a pair of thick socks

the cold cannot bite through,


                         I love you,


I have nothing else to give you,

so it is a pot full of yellow corn

to warm your belly in winter,

it is a scarf for your head, to wear

over your hair, to tie up around your face,


                         I love you,


Keep it, treasure this as you would

if you were lost, needing direction,

in the wilderness life becomes when mature;

and in the corner of your drawer,

tucked away like a cabin or hogan

in dense trees, come knocking,

and I will answer, give you directions,

and let you warm yourself by this fire,

rest by this fire, and make you feel safe


                         I love you,


It’s all I have to give,

and all anyone needs to live,

and to go on living inside,

when the world outside

no longer cares if you live or die;

remember,


                         I love you.


Jimmy Santiago Baca, "I Am Offering This Poem" from Immigrants in Our Own Land and Selected Early Poems. Copyright © 1990 by Jimmy Santiago Baca. Reprinted by permission of Jimmy Santiago Baca.

Source: Immigrants in Our Own Land and Selected Early Poems (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1990)

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Love
  • Relationships

Poet Bio

Jimmy Santiago Baca
Born in Santa Fe of Chicano and Apache descent, Jimmy Santiago Baca was abandoned by his parents and at thirteen ran away from the orphanage where his grandmother put him. He was convicted on drug charges in 1973 and spent five years in prison. There he learned to read and began writing poetry. His verse novel, Martin and Meditations on the South Valley, received the American Book Award in 1989. In addition to seven books of poetry, he has published memoirs, essays, stories, and a movie screenplay—Bound by Honor, released in 1993.

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