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