Javier Zamora


Javier Zamora (1990-present) was born in La Herradura, El Salvador and immigrated to the US when he was nine years old. He received his BA from UC Berkeley and an MFA from New York University and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. He is the author of the collection Unaccompanied and the chapbook Nueve Años Inmigrantes/ Nine Immigrant Years. He is the recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts fellowship, a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, and is currently a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University. Source

Abuelita Says Goodbye

Javiercito, you’re leaving me tomorrow

when our tortilla-and-milk breaths will whisper

te amo. When I’ll pray the sun won’t devour

your northbound steps. I’m giving you

this conch swallowed with this delta’s

waves and the sound of absorbing sand.


Hold it to your ear. I’m tired

of my children leaving. My love for you

shatters windows with birds. Javiercito,

let your shadow return, alone,

or with sons, but soon. Call me Mamá,

not Abuelita. All my children


learned the names of seasons

from songs. Tonight, leaves fall. 

There’s no autumn here. When you mist

into tomorrow’s dawns, at the shore

of somewhere, listen to this conch.

Don’t lose me.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Death & Loss


Persona Poems

Literary Devices:


an instruction or a command


a word, object, action, character, or concept that embodies and evokes a range of additional meaning and significance.