My Father’s Country

by Arya F. Jenkins

Eight years old I stood in
My red bathing suit bottoms on black soil
Enshrouded in a chapel of the
Largest greenest leaves I’d ever seen
Next to the pink ranch house in Key Biscayne

Beyond the wall of windows my mother sat head lowered
Intent on some task on the couch while
My siblings cavorted around her
A world away held by secrets larger than my own
I raised my small face to rain spilling from the roof’s gutter

In Talara Peru where we lived before
Hazy skies never delivered rain
My grandmother passed away and we moved north
But the new world had not yet opened its arms
Or revealed its promises to me
My mother missed her relatives in Colombia
And I missed the sea

Through the years rain came
Destroying and diminishing things
Rising to rooftops
Sweeping aside dust and dreams
But those first days in my father’s country
Rain fell just for me
Enfolding me in a tender hush of tears
Reminding me love and loss
Would always be like this.


Arya F. Jenkins is a Colombian-American poet and writer whose poems have appeared in journals and zines such as Agave Magazine, Blue Heron Review, Dying Dahlia Review, The Dissident Voice, The Ekphrastic Review, The Feminist Wire, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, IO Literary Journal, Otis Nebula, Paper Dragon, Poetica Review, Rag-Queen Periodical, and Voice of Eve. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She has also published poetry reviews in Cleaver Magazine, Cider Press Review, Rhino Poetry, The Poetry Cafe and Vol. 1 Brooklyn. Poetry is forthcoming in Luna Luna Magazine. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks and a short story collection, Blue Songs in an Open Key (Fomite Press, 2018). Her novel, Punk Disco Bohemian, is due for release through NineStar Press in September 2021 and a collection of short stories is due out in 2022.

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