Lisa Alvarez

the soft old maps in the glove compartment
the ones we unfolded trying to find our way
our car coats
the unregistered cars
the stepfathers and their first children
the fathers we never met
the mother who forgot our names
the grandmother who never told us hers
where are your people from
the new neighbors would demand
my sisters had no answer
we had no people
all we knew was here
where we had never been before
even when we left
even when we came back forever

Lisa Alvarez’s essays, stories, and poems have appeared in Air/Light, Citric Acid, Huizache, Santa Monica Review and elsewhere. She has edited three anthologies, most recently Why to These Rocks: Fifty Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers (Heyday). A professor of English at Irvine Valley College, she spends her summers co-directing the workshops at the Community of Writers in the High Sierra.