Rigorous
Volume One, Issue 4



Fango

Jeni De La O


    I.       Child

searing
              trail against                  skin,
small and
small and
under piles of                             blankets
                                                                     please
do         not        see        me
do         not        see        --!




    II.       Morning

abuelita's cafetera steaming
creeps inside my nose
and walter calls
                            mucho, mucho amor-
I smell a
                            cigarette outside my window
                            outside me,                    so close-
she calls up the stairs:
time      to          start    again
again.




    III.       On the Bus

thereisnogreengrassonthewaytoschooljustgray
andonthegraytheresmoldyblackuntilwegettomy       favorite:
bright yellow    and teal
and magenta
and here
is
the
sky!
              Are those clouds? Is that the sun?
the driver smells like listerine and
fried onions      and
                            not       cigarettes!
we wait              too                     long
to say                              goodbye
when    i             get       off         the         bus.




    IV.       Taught

Randy was a unicorn:
curly red hair and freckles like
something off black and white TV.

one day I pushed him to the ground,
no one believed him
because I was                too        good.

good girl.




    V.       Home

beans smell flat and round
and lentils smell broad and dense
can you hear that
             ch – ch – ch of the
pressure cooker?
can       you       hear     it
outside the gate?
             can       you       hear it
before the door opens?
                           can       you?
                           ch – ch – ch – ch
one day it will
explode.


Jeni De La O: "In 1932 winds carried a woman from Santiago to Jamaica and from Jamaica to Queens. She married and had a daughter, who had a daughter. In 1992 those same winds pushed that daughter's daughter from Miami to Michigan, where she writes poetry and short stories about warm waters and personal catastrophe."




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