Adela Najarro

Split Geography is a marvelous shifting between Nicaragua and the States, between the mangos and Michigan’s ice angels, between histories and national boundaries. Adela’s poems are compelling pastiches that contemplate the everyday wonders that arrive in small packages, as well as our sorrows that trumpet loudly into the future.” RICHARD BLANCO



​"Split Geography covers vast tracts of land and multiple countries in language that heals as it explores both internal and external rifts. The vagaries of love, and the need to love oneself and others (in all their rich complexity) surface in poem after poem. The personality that emerges from this collection is funny, poignant, irascible, and above all, in love with the promise that writing can be a spiritual exercise to re-make ourselves. These are poems to live among." 

DAVID A. SULLIVAN ​

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Split Geography Excerpts


To Do Without

It's not death that matters. It's the time here, now.
I was thinking about a roof. The sky open by wind.
A white moon three inches above a horizon of darkness.
"Love me, Goddamn it!" That's what gets me most. 

At this moment no-one is thinking of me.
It's only me, right? I'm the one who's stuck here.
I could get in my car and speed up Oakland Drive,
but curving around I'd slow to a stop

knowing the police are out and about
willing to give a helpful warning, a ticket
to steer straight. Danger is imminent
now that the weather has cooled and snow is coming.

Slow down. There are leaves in the street.
It's wise to take a few precautions. That's my problem.
My family, each of them with their screwed up lives,
loved me and loves me. And I can't get over it.  Me.

The fat little girl who cried too much. Child
born out of wedlock. By the time I could remember,
it was all over. The family forgave my mother,
forgot my father. And I was this little thing

with chubby hands to hold. Tío Ernesto taught me
how to dance in the garage where he set up three television
sets so he could watch football games: Rose Bowl,
Orange Bowl, Carnation Bowl. All the games, all the time.

I was unaware he was placing bets, but no matter.
He held my hands and taught me how to swing.
I was shy at first. One step here, one step there.
Shake the hips a little, just like this, then turn . . .

and face the little boys: Aaron, Wesley, Mike
and Pete on their bikes, watching me dance
on a warm afternoon. My Tío knowing
they were there. He wanted the world to look

at this beautiful little thing. They should love me too!
Impossible to forget that. I got over
the embarrassment by hiding in the bathroom
at Gallatin Elementary for three days.

But to actually know love.
It's something I find difficult to do without.
Do I really have to tell about the difficulties?
That party, going home alone, driving

the quiet road through silver darkness.
The trees, the moon, and the sky, open to the expanse. 




Adjacent Objects and Their Inversion in Space

If only I could pull and stretch into perfection!
My lover, friend, amateur naturalist, upon reading
Darwin's On the Origin of the Species, plans a three week
tour to the Galapagos. But nothing that specific or precise exists

in the longings of my imagination. The struggle is with patience
or compromise. Wait until the skin shines without sweat
on a cloudy day or settle for a grilled cheese sandwich
between moments of loneliness. Maybe it's neither.

When I'm in my own company I hear raindrops fall
through a damn good song on a CD. No need for redwoods
or a marsh where ducks nest among cattails. Though of course
it would be a terribly bad thing to lose that last square mile

of old growth forest in Oregon or California. Maybe
you've done it. Moved away from the self and boarded
a too small boat with a video camera. Waves slosh against the sides
of a tuna fish schooner capturing dolphins in a net. All this

business of doing what is needed, and of course what is right,
that's a flea in my shoe from cats, summer, and Elysian Court
where bushes are pruned into hedges.
I just want to have sex, but even that is too complicated

and takes understanding that fingers on skin touch purple
flowers slanted into soil from their very own pot. Nothing natural
is left. Electricity lit up London, Tokyo and New York's
Broadway with incandescent bulbs in the 1880's while

Ferdinand P.A. Carré compressed liquid ammonia
in a mechanical refrigerator and manufactured blocks
of ice for the London Exhibition. Over a hundred years
of change and destruction doesn't matter one bit

when a man shows up unexpected at the door. 
But what to do if I won't settle for being loved,
if happiness depends upon leaves that spring
into fullness one week in April? Now that's a turn

from desire. This way and that,
upside down and sideways.