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“Latin Night at the Pawnshop,” by Martin Espada

September 8, 2010

Today’s poem gleams in the Liberty Loan pawnshop window.

I read “Latin Night at the Pawnshop” from the text for my fall Intro to Lit class,  The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature (8th ed.) edited by Michael Meyer.  The Acknowledgements pages tell me the poem was in Espada’s book, Rebellion Is the Circle of a Lover’s Hands first, though (Curbstone, 1990).

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2010 11:25 am

    How beautiful and haunting.
    I was only looking in the window at the now silent Salsa band, but I could imagine hearing that band and smelling the pawnshop!

  2. September 10, 2010 7:38 pm

    Yes, haunting.

    And get this: you and I are the ones haunting it. It took me several readings to notice this, but at night, looking in a shop window, whose images are there, ghostly over the display? Whoever is standing looking in! It’s us looking in, in the shoes of the musicians who pawned their instruments–and musical life, really–for Christmas gifts.

    Such an effective act of empathy-making Espada has pulled! Cheers.

  3. September 11, 2010 1:33 pm

    Thank you for that deeper look.

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