Pablo Otavalo is from Cuenca, Ecuador but now lives and writes in Chicago. A recipient of the 2013 & 2014 Illinois Emerging Poet prize, his is work has appeared or been featured by Rhino, Jet Fuel Review, Structo Magazine, Ninth Letter, and Tupelo Press. He's an avid chess player and there are many things we have not lost.
Do you remember the children
we never had. The tawny boy,
the farsighted girl: you wanted to name
her Salome, I wanted to name him
Jalisco. Turn. Counter turn.
Stand. You bought them knitted gloves,
hats, from small Andean markets:
little hooded jumpers, pale yellow tans
and browns. You went from stall to stall
seeking softer strands. We held their names
like round river stones: turn, counter turn,
stand. In a winter madness, I walked
down side streets with their little garments
like embers in my hands. Clung to them,
then gave them away to children I saw, afraid
they were our children, growing cold. But
they were not our children for we had no
children, so the only thing I gave away
was the hope you had in us.