Summer 1998 • Vol. XX No. 3/4 Poetry |

Notes for My Daughter on the Morning of a New Year

Mira, mira, our Spanish-speaking kinare always saying, "Look and look again." It amuses us,this insistence on seeing, even when they mean listen.Could it be that they keep the world less at baythan we, their exiled children? That they can seeemotions in color? Anger is the scarlethibiscus; joy the blue of the Puerto Rican skyafter a July rainstorm, and grief,a black mantilla on the head of the womansitting alone in the last pew of an empty church.Mira, hija, I say to you in my mother's voice,when I mean listen, and you may turn your eyesin the direction of some unexpected bit of wonder:the dull gray city pigeon is iridescentin a certain slant of light, and she perchesat your window. If this is not enough, pues, mira,the sun shines indiscriminately over everything. Mira.Even the shadows make interesting designs on the concrete. Listen: whatever the weather, when you step outsideand breathe deeply, you inhale the historyof our race in each molecule: Eve's desire,Cleopatra's ambitio

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Judith Ortiz Cofer is an award-winning author known for her stories about coming-of-age experiences in the barrio and her writings about the cultural conflicts of immigrants. She is the author of many distinguished titles for young adults such as Call Me Maria, The Meaning of Conseulo, Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood, and The Line in the Sun. She lives in Georgia where she is the Regents’ and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia.

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