“Duty,” A Poem by Sarah Gambito

From Her Collection Loves You

January 25, 2019  By Sarah Gambito

My father would come back in the still dead of the night and eat eggs— one after another— while
my mother watched in silence. What do you say to someone who has been gone for that long?
Newspapers collecting on the front lawn. Squabbles left unopened like easter foil chocolates. My
sister and I found these badly. Slower than the other children. Afraid we didn’t understand English
well. OK. Go, now. OK. Now you can go.

Article continues below

My sister was sweet and followed me doing things. She had a doll with wondrous skin. The doll was
careful like a honeysuckle and artless like a honeysuckle. I liked to hold her near. She was
closemouthed and did not cry and it pleased me immensely and I was ashamed to be pleased.
Children should never be quiet. Like the quiet daughters we were. We quiet. Our crayons. Quiet.


From Loves You. Used with permission of Persea Books. Copyright © 2019 by Sarah Gambito.

Article continues below

Sarah Gambito
Sarah Gambito
Sarah Gambito is the author of the poetry collections Loves You (Persea Books), Delivered (Persea Books) and Matadora (Alice James Books). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Iowa Review, POETRY, Harvard Review, American Poetry Review, The New Republic, and other journals. She holds degrees from The University of Virginia and The Literary Arts Program at Brown University. Her honors include the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets and Writers, The Wai Look Award for Outstanding Service to the Arts from the Asian American Arts Alliance and grants and fellowships from The New York Foundation for the Arts and The MacDowell Colony. She is Associate Professor of English / Director of Creative Writing at Fordham University and co-founder of Kundiman, a non-profit organization serving writers and readers of Asian American literature.

Previous Article
"Sugar Baby"
Next Article
How Virginia Woolf Taught Me to Mourn

More Story
"Sugar Baby" On September 11, 2001, Bob Dylan released Love and Theft, his thirty- first studio album. On the twelfth song, my song, he sings,...

Become a Lit Hub Supporting Member: Because Books Matter

For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. But our future relies on you. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience, exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag. Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet.