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By Ray Gonzalez

For Juan Felipe Herrera

In the town of frijoles,

men eat their meals without

washing their hands, wanting

to bless their mothers’ food

with soil from the fields.


In the town of frijoles,

boys beat on hollow pots,

the last wiping of their sides

with a piece of tortilla as

holy a moment as taking

the wafer in church.


In the town of frijoles,

women undress to keep

their babies warm, stories

whispered into bald heads

revealed as poems decades

later, when it is early.


In the town of frijoles,

old men cry for their

fathers and mothers,

tombstone ranches dotting

the night moon where

the pinto aromas extend

beyond the bowl of the sun.


Notes:

The epigraph of this poem was originally omitted in the changeover to the new website. Because of this, reciting the epigraph is optional for the 2019-2020 Poetry Out Loud season.

Source: Poetry (March 2019)

  • Activities
  • Nature
  • Relationships

Poet Bio

Ray Gonzalez
Ray Gonzalez is the author of nine books of poetry, served as Poetry Editor of The Bloomsbury Review for twenty-five years, and founded LUNA, a poetry journal, in 1998. He received a 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award in Literature from the Border Regional Library Association. He is Full Professor in the MFA Creative Writing Program at The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.He has served as Poetry Editor of The Bloomsbury Review for twenty-five years and founded LUNA, a poetry journal, in 1998. He received a 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award in Literature from the Border Regional Library Association. He is Full Professor in the MFA Creative Writing Program at The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

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