My mother told me she had me early. She has no idea what day it was, only that she
heard roosters crowing, then she parted her legs and waited. That’s how god visited us in
Batey Monte de Coca, where language is removed from our gut for safety. Understand,
echoes grow echoes. Maybe that’s why my father left. Everyone’s leaving for the city—
the peso is what they need most. The horses we ride are quieter now that the consonants
are bent. Now love is but one heart on every side of the earth—but that doesn’t help sell
sugar..

Nathalie Handalwas raised in Latin America, France and the Arab world. She is the author of numerous books, most recently the critically acclaimed Poet in Andalucía, which Alice Walker lauds as “poems of depth and weight and the sorrowing song of longing and resolve,” and Love and Strange Horses, winner of the 2011 Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award, which The New York Times says is “a book that trembles with belonging (and longing).” Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Vanity Fair, Guernica Magazine, The Guardian, The Nation, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Ploughshares. Handal is a Lannan Foundation Fellow, winner of the Alejo Zuloaga Order in Literature 2011, and Honored Finalist for the Gift of Freedom Award, among other honors. She writes the literary travel column The City and the Writer for Words without Borders.