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By Judith Ortiz Cofer

They are thin

and rarely marry, living out

their long lives

in spacious rooms, French doors

giving view to formal gardens

where aromatic flowers

grow in profusion.

They play their pianos

in the late afternoon

tilting their heads

at a gracious angle

as if listening

to notes pitched above

the human range.

Age makes them translucent;

each palpitation of their hearts

visible at temple or neck.

When they die, it’s in their sleep,

their spirits shaking gently loose

from a hostess too well bred

to protest.


Judith Ortíz Cofer, "Women Who Love Angels" from The Latin Deli. Copyright © 1993 by Judith Ortíz Cofer.  Reprinted by permission of University of Georgia Press.

Source: The Latin Deli (University of Georgia Press, 1993)

  • Living
  • Love

Poet Bio

Judith Ortiz Cofer
Judith Ortiz Cofer was born in Hormigueros, a small town in Puerto Rico. When she was a young child her father’s military career took the family to Paterson, New Jersey, but she often spent her childhood traveling back and forth between Puerto Rico and the U.S. At 15, her family moved again, this time to Augusta, Georgia, where she eventually earned a BA in English from Augusta College. She later earned an MA in English from Florida Atlantic University and did graduate work at Oxford University. In 2010, Ortiz Cofer was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. Herwork explores the rifts and gaps that arise between her split cultural heritages. See More By This Poet

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