Elisa Gonzalez

cantfindit

Elisa M. Gonzalez is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer. Her work appears in the New Yorker and elsewhere. A graduate of Yale University and the New York University M.F.A. program, she has received fellowships from the Norman Mailer Center, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Rolex Foundation, and the U.S. Fulbright Program. She is the recipient of a 2020 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award. Source

Failed Essay on Privilege

I came from something popularly known as “nothing”

and in the coming I got a lot.

 

My parents didn’t speak money, didn’t speak college.

Still—I went to Yale.

 

For a while I tried to condemn.

I wrote Let me introduce you to evil.

 

Still, I was a guest there, I made myself at home.

 

And I know a fine shoe when I see one.

And I know to be sincerely sorry for those people’s problems.

 

I know to want nothing more

than it would be so nice to have

 

and I confess I’ll never hate what I’ve been given

as much as I wish I could.

 

Still I thought I of all people understood Aristotle: what is and isn’t the good life . . .

because, I wrote, privilege is an aggressive form of amnesia . . .

 

I left a house with no heat. I left the habit of hunger. I left a room

I shared with seven brothers and sisters I also left.

 

Even the good is regrettable, or at least sometimes

should be regretted

 

yet to hate myself is not to absolve her.

 

I paid so much

for wisdom, and look at all of this, look at all I have—

Published:

2019

Length:

Regular

Literary Movements:

Contemporary

Anthology Years:

Themes:

Education & Learning

Family

Identity

Intersectionality & Culture

Literary Devices:

Allusion

an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference

Anaphora

a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences