Rhina P. Espaillat


To My Gall Bladder

Is this goodbye to you, who for so long
have shared my days and nights, so near my heart
I thought that we were one? But I was wrong.
What guilt—and whose—is tearing us apart?
Is it my long affair with cheese that grates
on you? My glass of wine—or maybe two—
with dinner? My refusal to lift weights
or do the treadmill thing? And yes, it’s true
I’ve had you tracked with cameras, to see
what you’ve been up to; but too late, no use:
too much has soured between you and me
that I can’t stomach. I must cut you loose.
Had we confided sooner…who can tell?
No more hard feelings, though: I wish you well.


Rhina P. Espaillat has published poems, essays, short stories, and translations in numerous magazines and over 60 anthologies, in both English and her native Spanish, as well as three chapbooks and eight full-length books, including three in bilingual format. Her most recent are a poetry collection in English, Her Place in These Designs (Truman State University Press, Kirksville, 2008), and a bilingual collection of her short stories, El olor de la memoria/The Scent of Memory (Ediciones CEDIBIL, Santo Domingo, D. R., 2007).

Her honors include the Wilbur Award, the Nemerov Prize, the T. S. Eliot Prize in Poetry, the Robert Frost “Tree at My Window” Award for Translation, the May Sarton Award, a Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award from Salem State College, and several prizes from the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Culture, the New England Poetry Club, and the Poetry Society of America.

Espaillat lives in Newburyport, MA with her sculptor husband, Alfred Moskowitz; there she is active with the Powow River Poets, a well known literary group she co-founded some 20 years ago. She also performs with a group known as Melopoeia—comprising poet Alfred Nicol, guitarist and composer John Tavano, and vocalist Ann Tucker, which has presented numerous and varied programs that combine poetry and music—most recently at West Chester University and the House of the Seven Gables.