Zamora, Javier. "The Shatter of Birds" Four Way Review, November 14, 2013.
Javiercito, you’re leaving me tomorrow
when our tortilla-and-milk breaths will whisper
te amo. When I’ll pray the sun won’t devour
your northbound steps. I’m giving you this conch
swallowed with this delta’s waves
and the sound of sand absorbing.
Hold it to your ear. I’m tired
of my children leaving. My love for you shatters windows
with birds. Javiercito, let your shadow return,
alone, or with sons, but soon. Call me mamá,
not Abuelita. All my children learned the names of seasons
from songs. Tonight, leaves fall.
There’s no autumn here. When you mist
into tomorrow’s dawns, at the shore
of somewhere, listen to this conch.
Don’t lose me.
Yu, Brandon. "Salvadoran poet Javier Zamora retraces trauma and memory across borders" SFGate, November 1, 2017.
When asked about his relationship to the past, after arriving in the U.S., Zamora said, “I’m still trying to explore that question. I think because I was so small, the trauma — what it did to my memory was to black things out.”
The deeply affecting poems from “Unaccompanied” dug up memories that he had repressed, along with the memories of his family members, offering glimpses of horror and sorrow. In “from The Book I Made with a Counselor My First Week of School,” Zamora writes, “Javier saw a dead coyote animal, which stank and had flies over it / I keep this book in an old shoe box underneath the bed. She asked in Spanish / I just smiled, didn’t tell her, no animal, I knew that man.”
Palomo, Willy. "Unaccompanied by Javier Zamora (Copper Canyon, 2017) Reviewed by Willy Palomo" Muzzle.
The best word I have to describe the emotional relentlessness of the collection, and the unwillingness of its characters to surrender against the most absurd odds, is faith—a word wholly inadequate and inappropriate for its religious baggage and sentimentalism. But we need a word for those who risk everything, who almost die attempting to cross the border numerous times, yet “try again / and again, / like everyone does.” We need a word for the fathers who “still [carry] unopened water bottles,” for the tias who keep “looking at stranger’s left feet / to see if the big toe and the two next to that are missing” in the infinitesimal chance they find their long-lost brother, disappeared by the military decades past.
Paredez, Deborah. "Unaccompanied: An Interview with Javier Zamora" Poest.org, October 1, 2017.
I came to poetry my last year of high school. A visiting poet brought some of Neruda’s work. I got obsessed with Neruda, and my mom bought me my first poetry book, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, for my eighteenth birthday. The book was the first time I saw Spanish and English, side by side, with equal importance. This had a profound effect on me. But I was not completely “convinced” of poetry just yet.