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Migrating Birds

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Victor gets a real sense of power
from making his own raisins. He buys
pounds and pounds of grapes
and leaves them to dry
on the kitchen table.

Theresa doesn’t want to hear about
her ex-husband’s cancer. Not on Father’s Day.
She takes a train all night
to have breakfast with her cousin.
All Sunday she rides the train back.

Once Martin’s wife had left,
he decided to take advantage of her space.
He built a sauna where her closet was,
and now sits there every morning
to read the paper and Buddha.

One night Helga wore her prettiest dress,
thought she knew he wouldn’t be there.
She drank white wine, got drunk
(she was on a diet), and fell down.
Later he saw the holes in her pantyhose.

María was usually bumping into
furniture. Each time she got closer to what
she wanted. “What do you want from me?”
“Nothing,” he replied, so she took off
and felt like migrating birds. But many.


Mónica de la Torre, “Migrating Birds” from Talk Shows. Copyright © 2006 by Mónica de la Torre. Reprinted by permission of Switchback Books.
Source: Talk Shows (Switchback Books, 2006)
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Migrating Birds

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  • Poet, translator, and scholar Mónica de la Torre was born and raised in Mexico City. She earned a BA from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and, with the support of a Fulbright scholarship, relocated to New York in 1993 to pursue an MFA and a PhD in Spanish literature at Columbia University.
     
    With dark humor, de la Torre’s poems explore our constructions of identity and trajectory. Her full-length poetry collections include Public Domain (2008), Talk Shows (2007). She has also published the chapbooks Four (Switchback) and The Happy End (Song Cave). With artist Terence Gower, she co-authored the art book Appendices, Illustrations and Notes (1999). She frequently collaborates with artists and writers, as with Collective Task. Taller de Taquimecanografía, published in Mexico City, is the result of another collaboration. She contributed to Predictions (2009), a study of indeterminacy, and to the conceptual critical work Laureana Toledo: The Limit (2008).
     
    De la Torre coedited, with...

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