MY FIRST SUMMER IN SPAIN I AGREE TO TAKE MY FRIEND LAURA WITH ME

By: Esperanza Hope Snyder

Salamanca, Spain

Her Spanish, peppered with curses, is out of place,

odd, like her freckled skin, wrinkled clothes,

scissored blond hair.

I don’t understand her bad Puerto Rican,

her accent, why she uses l not r, pronounces

rice, alos and not arroz.

It’s a warm summer evening, after a hot, dry day.

We’ve been drinking sangria, eating tortilla,

bread, anchovies, olives.

Inside a bar, an Ecuadorian student tries

to hold my hand. Just outside,

on a bench, Laura and a stranger have sex.

Alone, I walk down to the river.

The water, cool on my skin,

a perfume of oranges sweetens the air.


Esperanza Hope Snyder's poems and translations have appeared in Alehouse Press, Blackbird, The Comstock Review, The Gettysburg Review, International Poetry Review, OCHO, 32 Poems, Poetry Northwest, and other journals. Honors include the Donald Everitt Axinn Award in Poetry for Bread Loaf, poetry fellowships for the Gettysburg Review’s Conference, and the Peter Taylor Fellowship in Poetry at The Kenyon Review. Esperanza is Assistant Director of Bread in Sicily and co-coordinator of the Lorca Prize. Her poetry book, Esperanza and Hope, was published in 2018 (Sheep Meadow Press). 

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