My father liked them separate, one there,
one here (allá y aquí), as if aware
that words might cut in two his daughter’s heart
(el corazón) and lock the alien part
to what he was—his memory, his name
(su nombre)—with a key he could not claim.
“English outside this door, Spanish inside,”
he said, “y basta.” But who can divide
the world, the word (mundo y palabra) from
any child? I knew how to be dumb
and stubborn (testaruda); late, in bed,
I hoarded secret syllables I read
until my tongue (mi lengua) learned to run
where his stumbled. And still the heart was one.
I like to think he knew that, even when,
proud (orgulloso) of his daughter’s pen,
he stood outside mis versos, half in fear
of words he loved but wanted not to hear.
Education & Learning
The repetition of a word within a phrase, in which the second use of the word utilizes a different and sometimes contrary meaning from the first.
two lines of verse, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme, that form a unit
when a poem has lines ending with words that sound the same
a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic
the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing