Published on Academy of American Poets (


My child is my mother.
There is a perpetual tug of war
between the child in my mother
and the mother in my child.
My spouse is not father to my child.
The man who is lover to his mother—
he too is childless, having been
son to his grandfather, but not brother
to his mother, or son.
The self-evidence of terms
designating family ties
masks the entanglements.
Is it folklore, the assumption
that a man will choose a lover
over his children
and that a mother her children
over her lover?
In this, the man and I,
we are equivalent.
We each have our records.


Copyright © 2015 by Mónica de la Torre. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 15, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I’ve been exploring the notion of translation equivalence for some time, having produced multiple English versions of a poem of mine in Spanish titled ‘Equivalencias’ through various translation methods. Becoming aware of Stieglitz’s Equivalents series of photographs of clouds—among the earliest to engage abstraction—prompted me to expand my project. For this poem, I tried to describe complex interpersonal dynamics using only the narrow vocabulary for the nuclear family.”
Mónica de la Torre


Mónica de la Torre

Mónica de la Torre’s most recent book of poems and translations is Repetition Nineteen (Nightboat, 2020). She teaches at Brooklyn College and Bard’s MFA program.

Date Published: 2015-12-15

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