The Gulf, 1987

By Deborah Paredez Deborah Paredez
The day upturned, flooded with sunlight, not
a single cloud. I squint into the glare,
cautious even then of bright emptiness.
We sit under shade, Tía Lucia
showing me how white folks dine, the high life.
I am about to try my first oyster,
Tía spending her winnings from the slots
on a whole dozen, the glistening valves
wet and private as a cheek’s other side,
broken open before us. Don’t be shy.
Take it all in at once. Flesh and sea grit,
sweet meat and brine, a taste I must acquire.
In every split shell, the coast’s silhouette:
bodies floating in what was once their home.

Source: Poetry (September 2012).

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This poem originally appeared in the September 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2012
 Deborah  Paredez

Biography

Deborah Paredez is the author of the poetry collection, This Side of Skin (2002) and the critical study, Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory (2009). Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Mandorla, Palabra, Poet Lore and elsewhere. Her honors include an Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation Award and residencies from the Vermont Studio Center and Hedgebrook. Paredez is the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Eating & Drinking, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, Class, Race & Ethnicity

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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