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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.

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beloved sister, devoted mama, dazzling friend, noble-hearted human(e) being, died on February 27, 2015. She was sixty-five.

She was the oldest of "the four girls," as we were always known.
Years ago (1979) I wrote a long poem, "The Four Girls,"
which included sections about the individual sisters.

The opening and closing of "Maury" section follows.

Julia & Maury -- 62 years ago
Julia & Maury -- 62 years ago


In a snapshot of you and me as toddlers
we are sitting on the lawn, you are picking
apart, petal by petal, a flower. I peer over
your shoulder, keeping count, learning
how it's done, how there will always be
those who love us, those who do not
love us enough, or, I suppose, at all.
The first child, you endured the slow
invasion, your inheritance divided by four;
yellow, your color, after a rainbow of choice.
I was the first encroachment in your loves,
picking up your petals, carding the flowers
you had discarded. . . In a sense,
I have always been "the artist,"
for nothing ever came to me whole. . .
You've gone off, leaving me to wander
the world without you,
eking out a bit of identity, picking up stems
you tossed away, bunching petals on them,
loves me, loves me not, loves me, loves me
not, as if there were a right answer,
as if I could ever make over
one of your flowers.
Julia Alvarez
April 13, 2015
Copyright © Julia Alvarez 2015-2019.
All rights reserved. No further duplication, downloading or
distribution permitted without written agreement of the author
(please contact my agent, Stuart Bernstein).
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