Friday, April 28, 2023

Closing out Poetry Month with Lori Anaya

Lori Anaya


Letter to My Face 

Lori Anaya 


I never liked how you were almond shaped 

A perfect blend of blue to green and flecks of gold, but 

Different from the rest 

Not as beautiful as my mother’s, 

Passed out on the table 

Day after day oozing innocent sleep 

And hate 

Instead of dinner 

Eyes, if only you could be dark 



Like Attila 

Or cafecito, morenito, abuelitos brown 

Guarding past, future, 

Now, guarding my tears 

Even those that do not fall 

Eyes, you watched 

Four sisters disappear 

To the house on the hill 

Without me 

Eyes, you turned away 

From sticker fields 

Fist fights and kick fights, 

From planting trees and beautiful things 

To the nowhere and the nothing 

Of searching for sweet crumbs 

Eyes, you left me to mend decades, and 

Places where the bears once fought. 

I’ve grown to love you, Eyes, 

Lizard hunting days 

Orange-pink dawns in soft sand 

Drawing horses 

And cloud portraits 

Watercolor dreams 

I’ve grown to love your place in my life 

On the mask that is my face 

Above the nose I didn’t want 


Even though you are perfect 


Sloped in a straight line like my father’s 

And not the beautiful strong nose of my mother 

You are the nose of stink and silences 

Of dank dungeon, unwanted 

Of people who claim to be family, 

Of refrigerated vodka, no ice cubes needed. 

I’ve grown to love how you smell sweetness 

Outside the door of childhood 

How you smell the young skin of Nephew’s daughter 

How you smell calmness and strength 

How you smell dead animal, pine trees, even rain 

Or fear... 

You fit perfectly in the oval face 

That is my mask 

Lips, hiding so many words 

Lies and truths unspoken 

And some you’ve had the courage to bring forth 

You are full and beautiful 

You are language 

And translations 


Catholic incantations 

Spanish trills 

Tewa hills 


English, Spanish 

Even problematic, sometimes, but 

You call forth words 

Help me greet the world 

And share my heart 

Eyes, Nose, Lips 

You were the unwanted face, of 

The unwanted daughter 

The unwanted words rang out 

When my father said he never loved my mother 

You make me glad you were a mask, 

Lone sentinel 

I never realized 

I could love you 


Dear Heart 

 Lori Anaya is a bilingual teacher, poet, writer, presenter, and one of five sisters. She is a Southcoast Writing Project Fellow and Young Writer’s Academy instructor. Published in short story and poetry: the Santa Barbara Literary Journal, Avalon Literary Review, and She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a Summer Conference grant winner for middle grade, and picture book creator. When not writing, she rides a paint mare into The Land Conservancy where nature overlooks the fact that she is human. 


  1. Sending many hugs to your body and soul🫶🏽. Your beautiful spirit and grace shines through every image in your poem. Thanks for being you. Congratulations on your success. ❤️🤩

  2. 🙌🏻 It! You’re gifted in so many ways! Congratulations,Lori!

  3. I loved it. You are amazing.

  4. This is beautiful – so uniquely personal and universal at the same time.

  5. This makes me want to look more closely, to see beyond the mask. I love the PS Dear heart of love and acceptance.


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