This Side of Early
by Naomi Ayala
Northwestern University Press, 2008
Paper: 978-1-931896-46-7
Library of Congress Classification PS3551.Y23T47 2008
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.54

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY
ABOUT THIS BOOK

Naomi Ayala’s poems explore wide-ranging themes in an ever-changing landscape—from the city streets to the introspective solace of the woods. These lyrics deconstruct the political world of man, offer hope through a compelling, lyrical, spiritual intimacy, and bridge the gap between the two with words full of ecological intensity.

Her deep connections with the working class combine with a love of the land to offer us lilt and dream, revelation and foretelling.

“HOLE”

One morning
they dig up the sidewalk and leave.
No sign of the truck—only the large,
dark shadow digging and digging,
piling up sludge with a hand shovel
beside the only tree.
Two o’clock I come by
and he’s slumbering in the grass beside rat holes.
Three and he’s stretched across a jagged stonewall,
folded hands tucked beneath one ear—
a beautiful young boy smiling,
not the heavy, large shadow who can’t breathe.
Four-thirty and the August heat
takes one down here.
He’s pulled up an elbow joint
some three feet round.
At seven I head home for the night,
pass the fresh gravel mound,
a soft footprint near the manhole
like the “x” abuelo would place beside his name
all the years he couldn’t write. 


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