Summing Up


From the Archive

Frederic Edwin Church

Frederic Edwin Church.

Claribel Alegria’s poem “Summing Up” appeared in our Fall 1988 issue. Alegria is ninety-two today. Her latest book is Casting Off, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden. 

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.