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Inhospitable

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Each time the babies came
I knew they would be gone
by morning.

Bright as bulbs
turned out of beds,
hard and full
of promise.

Bodies
on the brink
of unfolding.

I could not hold them
and I could not hold them
long enough.

It was a sin to let them in.
I did not expect them to stay.
I did not expect their forgiveness
when I turned away.

Source: Poetry (November 2016)

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Poetry magazine

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Inhospitable

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  • Emily Pérez was born and raised in south Texas. She earned a BA with honors from Stanford and MFA from the University of Houston, where she was poetry editor for Gulf Coast and a teacher for Writers in the Schools. Pérez is the author of the chapbook Backyard Migration Route (2011) and the full-length collection House of Sugar, House of Stone (2016). Both books explore what poet Sasha West has described as “liminalities” or borders. In an interview with West for Letras Latinas, Pérez noted her desire to cross and explore familiar and familial boundaries in House of Sugar, House of Stone: “I want to know about the line between the self and the partner, the self and the collective. In families we make ourselves vulnerable to unknowable others—sometimes by choice and sometimes by the accident of when, where, and to whom we were born.”
    Pérez has received grants and scholarships...

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