How Can I Write a Love Poem?

How can I write you a love poem in the office?
If the letters I read make me sad:
Alfredo Matute, born blind, asks for a guitar
and we haven't got one.
If they told Marta Castillo
that Ernesto Cardenal is the director
of a ballet school.
If Juan F. Delgado, co-ordinator
of the El Limón Civil Defence,
writes to tell us about the poverty of his people there.
If I cannot even read Jonás Bermúdez' writing.
If they keep asking the Comrade Minister
about the Poetry Workshops for peasants and workers.
If the telephone bills are high and there is no funding.
If the laurel-leafed fig tree
is no longer that green dome of leaves
enfolding me in its branches
and the grass has turned yellow as it is so dry.
If I am nauseated by the clean, white lavatories
and cold bathrooms in this house that was Somoza's.
Perhaps when I get home I'll write you a love poem.
Perhaps these lines are a love poem.

January 1982
Luz Marina Acosta


After the triumph of the Revolution on July 19th 1979, the new Sandinista Ministry of Culture, headed by Ernesto Cardenal, took over the beautiful house and grounds in Managua that had belonged to the former dictator Somoza. They set up poetry workshops all over the country.

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