After Aztlan: Latino Poets of the Nineties

By Ray González | Go to book overview

Judith Ortiz Cofer

The Dream of Birth

My mother's voice scrapes the ocean floor,
coming through ragged with static during the call
placed from her sister's house in Puerto Rico,
where she will stay

until she finds a new place for herself. She has called
to say she is moving again and to share the horror
prompting her flight.

On the first night of deep sleep in the old house
she had rented back on native soil--a place
she would decorate with our past; where

yellowed photographs--of a young man in khaki
army issue (the way she chooses to remember her husband),
and my brother and me as sepia-toned babies--in their

chipped frames, will not insult new paint; a place
where she could finally begin to collect
her memories like jars of preserves on a shelf,
there,

she had laid down to rest on her poster bed centered in
a high-ceilinged room, exhausted from the labor
of her passage, and dreamed
she had given birth to one of us again; she felt the weight
of a moist, wriggling mass on her chest, the greedy mouth
seeking a milk-heavy breast, then suddenly--real pain--

-135-

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After Aztlan: Latino Poets of the Nineties
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xv
  • Francisco Alarcón 3
  • Jimmy Santiago Baca 11
  • Cordelia Candelaria 15
  • Ana Castillo 18
  • Rosemary Catacalos 25
  • Lorna Dee Cervantes 33
  • Lucha Corpi 42
  • Carlos Cumpián 48
  • Angela De Hoyos 53
  • Martín Espada 55
  • Alicia Gaspar De Alba 64
  • Rebecca Gonzales 75
  • Ray González 80
  • Víctor Hernández Cruz 90
  • Juan Felipe Herrera 101
  • Rita Magdaleno 111
  • Demetria Martínez 119
  • Víctor Martínez 124
  • Pat Mora 130
  • Judith Ortiz Cofer 135
  • Leroy Quintana 143
  • Antonia Quintana Pigño 146
  • Naomi Quiñónez 155
  • Alberto Ríos 162
  • Luis J. Rodríguez 170
  • Leo Romero 179
  • Benjamin Sáenz 188
  • Luis Omar Salinas 194
  • Gary Soto 206
  • Carmen Tafolla 213
  • Ernesto Trejo 220
  • Robert Vasquez 226
  • Alma Luz Villanueva 234
  • Tino Villanueva 241
  • Biographical Notes 247
  • Acknowledgments 255
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