Five Things Borrowed

— Monica Rico

after Sandra Cisneros

I wanted to
            and did leave Saginaw.
                        My Spanish is
                                    concealed

            because            I ask too much from
                                    the smell
                        of lemons.
            I am the woman who
            didn’t take

her husband’s name, or

have children.

            No one            wonders when

                        I will grow a vegetable garden
                                    or if

                                    I liked New York. I have

            not changed my

                        phone number

in twenty years.
                        When the daffodils bloom

                        I bring them inside.
I have yet to see

a person
along the Huron River

            lost in bird song

                        waiting to return

            to sky.

I grew up

            with the privilege
                        of         a         father

                                    who looks

                        exactly            like me

            and      learned            the most
                        from dishwashing

when my brother’s wife ran off to Jamaica

all he ate

            was grits         for breakfast. Then

                        when she came back
                                    my mother-in-law wanted to teach me

            the correct way

                        to wash her son’s shirts.

            The last time

                        I was a ring

                                    was after a party

                                    everyone home and apron

            around my neck. The time I heard the geese

                        traveling with the moon

I believed I was hallucinating and now when they wake me

            I know I’m not and imagine I am

                        an owl            falling swiftly

                        on the sound.


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