Year by Year: A Life | Jesse Lee Kercheval
Jesse Lee Kercheval was born in France, grew up in Florida, and now divides her time between Madison, Wisconsin and Montevideo, Uruguay. Her books include the poetry collection America that island off the coast of France, winner of the Dorset Prize, The Alice Stories, winner of the Prairie Schooner Fiction Book Prize and the memoir Space, winner of the Alex Award from the American Library Association. She is also a translator, specializing in Uruguayan poets. Recent translations include The Invisible Bridge: Selected Poems of Circe Maia and Fable of an Inconsolable Man by Javier Etchevarren.
kindergarten friends: the one who cries, the one who lies,
the one who bites, the one who gives me M & Ms,
the comic one who rolls his eyes back in his head,
the sick one with scabs everybody wants to touch,
the polite one who says pretty please and a cherry on top,
the girl from Africa who’s never seen strawberries
or snow, the boy who can’t see colors and draws
green suns and dirt brown flowers. I want them here,
now, together. Except they are all here. Friends
repeating themselves in every classroom, in every job:
the nervous one, the defiant one, weary one, the tender.