On her personal webpage, Dominican-American writer Julia Alvarez offers her readers a poetic ñapa. As she explains, “In Dominican Spanish la ñapa refers to ‘the little extra’ added on at the end. Just when you thought you’d gotten all that you would get, along comes your ñapa, like a baker’s dozen, with one more kiss, one more pastelito, one more mango at the mercado.”
The ñapa in this case, is a poem she wrote for Barack Obama. She wrote it after an invitation from Nancy Benac of Associated Press to join a group of writers who were asked to write a poem for the president’s inauguration.
Here is the poem:
January 20, 2009
The land was never ours, nor we the land’s: no, not in Selma, with the hose turned on, nor in the valley picking the alien vines. Nor was it our s at Watts, Montgomery— no matter what the frosty poet said. We heard the crack of whips, the mothers’ moans in anthems like the undertow of grief. The land was never ours but we believed a King’s dream might some day become a deed to what we did not own, though it was owed us. (Who had the luxury to withhold himself?) No gift outright for us, we earned this land with sorrow’s currency: our hands, our backs, our Rosas, martins, Jesses, our Baracks. Today we give our land what we withheld: the right at last to call itself one nation.
For more information, see http://www.juliaalvarez.com/