Translated from the Spanish by Roque Raquel Salas Rivera

I did not come to solitude

she packed my suitcase and said go.
She put an egg in my suitcase
she put leavening in my suitcase
she put salt in my suitcase
flour, sugar, and warm water.

I came to my mother’s house to sleep for days.
I closed all the doors.
I took off my clothes, my watches.
I left the suitcase on the floor unopened.

Now hungry,
with my eyes I rummage through the things I brought.
They have taken everything.

All that’s left is the egg, there, intact
beside the bed
and, when facing the mirror,
I feel strangely committed to its care.





No vine a la soledad

ella empacó mi maleta y dijo vete.
Puso un huevo en mi maleta
puso levadura en mi maleta
puso sal en mi maleta
harina, azúcar y agua tibia.

Vine a casa de mi madre a dormir días.
Cerré todas las puertas.
Me quité la ropa y los relojes.
Dejé la maleta sobre el suelo sin abrirla.

Ahora hambriento
rebusco con los ojos lo que traje.
Se han llevado todo.

Queda sólo el huevo, ahí, intacto
a un lado de la cama
y siento ante el espejo
el compromiso raro de cuidarlo.

© Xavier Valcárcel. Translation © 2022 Raquel Salas Rivera. All rights reserved.

This spice mix is featured in many of the dishes in this book, lending them a uniquely Palestinian flavor.
 —Reem Kassis, “The Palestinian Table”

First they tango on my tongue,
nimble couples careening,
then together
form an Arab-style line dance
stepping, stomping, swaying.

West Indies allspice dazzles,
berries tangling with cinnamon sticks,
while cloves, Indonesian natives,
lead with a spirited solidarity solo.

Coriander seeds offer greetings in Hindi
as others toast comrades in languages
beyond borders and blockades.

Lifting up sisterhood, sun-wizened nutmeg
starts a sibling dance with mace.
Cumin demurs, then surprises
with subtle exultation.

Queen of spices cardamom,
host of the party, gives a nod to flavors
in hiding: lemony, sweet, warm, 
fragrant, nutty, pungent, hot.

Encouraged, feisty black peppercorns
shimmy center stage, organizing
the unique union of nine
for a vivacious global salute.

Copyright © 2022 by Zeina Azzam. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 7, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

ah my mother used to make it
with eggs and milk
and stale white bread

slid onto a plate with
Log Cabin fake maple syrup
and I always wanted more

to disappear what troubled me
the man under the moon
the man in our living room

make enough spitting bacon
to forget the broken gameboards
splintered bat

missing family car
his vanishings and sudden returns
smelling of other rooms

my mother’s tears
over the stove
her catchy milky breath

Copyright © 2021 by Cammy Thomas. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 6, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

About me young and careless feet
Linger along the garish street;
         Above, a hundred shouting signs
Shed down their bright fantastic glow
         Upon the merry crowd and lines
Of moving carriages below.
Oh wonderful is Broadway—only
My heart, my heart is lonely.

Desire naked, linked with Passion,
Goes strutting by in brazen fashion;
         From playhouse, cabaret and inn
The rainbow lights of Broadway blaze
         All gay without, all glad within;
As in a dream I stand and gaze
At Broadway, shining Broadway—only
My heart, my heart is lonely.

From Harlem Shadows (New York, Harcourt, Brace and company, 1922) by Claude McKay. This poem is in the public domain.

It is tamale Saturday.
The day the colors of the rainbow break
b r e a d.            Today these Brown hands will be coated
In masa and Mama and memory.

A family patterned like
plaid on stripes will go to war with corn
husks and Grandma Lupe's recipe    h a n d w r i t i n g.   
Today I am not artist. Nor social

media handle. I am not
Black Boy Joy. Nor Brown Boy dead. I am
a   b a b y                before its first gulp of tap water. The oldest cousin
still hesitant to clink forks at the adult table.

Today we pick up the place
mats Tia and Big Mama and Papa Sisto left
behind. We’ve never been the same since they    d i e d.       
We grew into something stronger

and weaker at the same time,
most ourselves when colors don’t
m a t c h       but meat is tender, and masa has no clumps,
and air is clean like a mind

that has reconciled with its last meal.

Copyright © Christian Robinson. This poem originally appeared in Respect the Mic: Celebrating 20 Years of Poetry from a Chicagoland High School (Penguin, 2022). Used with permission of the author.