Published on Academy of American Poets (

Year of the Rat, Full Moon in Aries, and Coltrane Plays

Blues to You. I have folded
my sorrows like fitted
bedsheets: fraying elastic, the faint
scent of an ex-lover’s
detergent and my palms
holding the creases
against my skin, a way to live
into them. I have
folded. My sorrows don’t ask
for any precision
other than my hands
against their hands
of holding
a mountain of folds smoothed out for the moon and
the impossible season Mars makes of it. Have I folded
my sorrows well enough into
               the weather of the darkest
               corner of a fading
               restaurant and the small
               talk caught in its walls? I have
folded my sorrows. I have. I have
forded the shallows dragging
my sheets
and their sweet un
-foldings into
another in


Copyright © 2021 by Andrea Blancas Beltran. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 16, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

This poem owes debts to Bob Kaufman’s poem I have folded my sorrows into the mantle of summer night as well as Hoa Nguyen and Kristin Prevallet’s workshop, Duende Beat. Our writing improvisation for our first virtual gathering involved flipping through Kaufman’s Collected Works and randomly selecting one line. We were asked to consider this line a gift from Kaufman while Kristin reminded us, Don’t think about it, feel it. A spiral of the selected line was of importance, and this poem swirled as I listened to John Coltrane. This poem is also indebted to Mary Ruefle and her impromptu performance of folding a fitted sheet one summer at VCFA.
—Andrea Blancas Beltran


Andrea Blancas Beltran

Andrea Blancas Beltran is the author of profiles (Dancing Girl Press, 2020). A 2019 CantoMundo Fellow, she lives in El Paso, Texas.

Date Published: 2021-09-16

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