Hole

By Naomi Ayala b. 1964 Naomi Ayala
One morning
they dig up the sidewalk and leave.
No sign of the truck,
only the large,
dark shadow digging and digging,
piling up sludge with a hand shovel
beside the only tree.
Two o’clock I come by
and he’s slumbering in the grass beside rat holes.
Three and he’s stretched across a jagged stonewall,
folded hands tucked beneath one ear—
a beautiful young boy smiling,
not the heavy, large shadow who can’t breathe.
Four-thirty and the August heat
takes one down here.
He’s pulled up an elbow joint
some three feet round.
At seven I head home for the night,
pass the fresh gravel mound,
a soft footprint near the manhole
like the “x” abuelo would place beside his name
all the years he couldn’t write.

Naomi Ayala, “Hole” from This Side of Early. Copyright © 2008 by Naomi Ayala. Reprinted by permission of Curbstone Press.

Source: This Side of Early (Curbstone Press, 2008)

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Poet Naomi Ayala b. 1964

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Activities, Jobs & Working

 Naomi  Ayala

Biography

Born in Puerto Rico, Naomi Ayala moved to the United States in her teens, eventually earning an MFA from the Bennington College Writing Seminars. Writing in both Spanish and English, she is author of the poetry collections Wild Animals on the Moon (1997), chosen by the New York City Public Library as a 1999 Book for the Teen Age, and This Side of Early (2008). Her poems have appeared in the anthologies Boriquén to Diasporican: . . .

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SUBJECT Activities, Jobs & Working

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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