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Category: Angela Narciso Torres

Alzheimer’s

there was a piano she loved

cherubs carved on cherry wood

hands ripple over ghost keys

she nods off, chin to chest

do you want to lie down? no

under the palms in a pink housedress

what is your name? she asks

again cherubs playing violins

sunlight slips behind ferns

from What Happens is NeitherFind more by Angela Narciso Torres at the library

Copyright © 2021 Angela Narciso Torres
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Translating the Dead

two days after grandfather died

his letter arrived from Manila

sky blue aerogramme

trifolded and sealed

by the aunt who kept vigil

typing for him what words

he had left on the Smith Corona

with the broken lowercase i

that pierced holes through paper

I remember school nights

finding him still

awake listening

for my backpack’s thud

on the wood floor

leading to his bedroom

slowly he’d rise

a smoker’s cough

clearing his throat

his voice tunneling

in half-dark

Are you here now, hija?

a direct translation

from Tagalog

Nariyan ka na, anak?

meaning You’re here, child?

meaning I’ve been waiting, dear one

holding the crinkled sheet

against the October sky

I find another sky

deeper blue

pinpricks of light

shining like Day-Glo stars

Yes, Papa. I’m here.

from What Happens is NeitherFind more by Angela Narciso Torres at the library

Copyright © 2021 Angela Narciso Torres
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Confessions of a Transplant

My first year living in America

the scent of frying garlic

sent me weeping. My eyes

swept the somber avenues,

starving for color. I devoured

the aquamarine of broken glass,

a wire festooned with yellow shoes,

the shower of plum blossoms

on a sidewalk. The memory

of sour mangoes made rivers

in my mouth. At the market, I picked

the greenest nectarines, dredged them

in salt that stung my chapped lips.

Words I hoarded like rock

candy, melted on my tongue

like my too-hard r’s. Range Rover, red

robin, river rock. I practiced

into the ear of an empty flagon,

reciting litanies to the saint

of lost things. The walls

echoed with whispers.

Lying lily-still in the goblet

of night, I drank the croons

of nameless birds.

from What Happens is NeitherFind more by Angela Narciso Torres at the library

Copyright © 2021 Angela Narciso Torres
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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