For Want of Water: And Other Poems

For Want of Water: And Other Poems


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Searing verses set on the Mexican border about war and addiction, love and sexual violence, grief and loss, from an American Book Award–winning author.  Selected by Gregory Pardlo as winner of the National Poetry Series.
El Paso is one of the safest cities in the United States, while across the river, Ciudad Juárez suffers a history of femicides and a horrific drug war. Witnessing this, a Filipina’s life unravels as she tries to love an addict, the murders growing just a city—but the breadth of a country—away. This collection weaves the personal with recent history, the domestic with the tragic, asking how much “a body will hold,” reaching from the border to the poet’s own Philippines. These poems thirst in the desert, want for water, searching the brutal and tender territories between bodies, families, and nations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807027851
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 10/17/2017
Series: National Poetry Series , #2
Pages: 120
Sales rank: 704,328
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Sasha Pimentel is also the author of Insides She Swallowed, winner of the 2011 American Book Award. Born in Manila and raised in the United States and Saudi Arabia, she is a professor of poetry and creative nonfiction in the bilingual MFA Program at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Gregory Pardlo’s many awards include the Pulitzer Prize for his book Digest.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Gregory Pardlo


If I Die in Juárez
13 Ways of Knowing Her
Our First Year
My Father’s Family Fasts the Slaughter to Feast the Arrival of His Bride
The Kiss
Late September, When the Heat Releases
Meditations on Living in the Desert
Admit Impediments. Love Is Not Love
Continental Split
At a Party


A Loaf of Bread
After Dinner
The Eyes Open to a Cry
In Their Dark Habits
How to Care for a Man, Withdrawing
In Step
Because “Some Women Are
Displaced Women’s Blues
You Say You Can’t Sleep
Thai Massage
Bodies, and Other Natural Disasters
For Want of Water

Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose

How we come to smoke:
High, high, high:
Autopsy, Juárez:
Tale, two cities:
High and low:
Crack rock, a hard place:
Autopsy, us:
Drug war:
How we love to score / (buying glass pipes at the barrio store):


Sea Change
At the Symphony: 7 Things I Wish I’d Told You
[ Rules for Behaving on an Airplane ] & Simultaneous Monologue on Your Separate Grief
Last Photograph of My Mother Laughing
When in Solitude, the Surprise of Morning
Leaving the University Gym
Tuesday Night in Montparnasse
Moment in Storm
Marking. Connecting: Between Going and Stopping,—
Old Beds and Hollywood
School Terrorist Exercise, 2005


What Is Broken
Before Dawn
We’re Really Not Okay
Golden Shovel: at the Lake’s Shore, I Sit with His Sister, Resting
Grave, ma non troppo tratto
Safely Watching a Solar Eclipse with Kuya
While My Lover Rests
Touched By Dusk, We Know Better Ourselves

Lines I’ve Stolen, and Other Notes

Credits and Acknowledgments

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