Do You Ever Think About Leaving, My Mother Asks
by Angela María Spring
on her seventieth birthday, though she does not look
even sixty, a blessing many Boricuas wear, and I say
where can we go, where is better, even now
green plantains fat in a vase above the kitchen sink,
thrust up toward sky, three mangoes heavy, grand
on the counter, the college girl my in-laws pay to grocery
shop found them amidst all this sickness, they showed
up on my doorstep and I nearly cried, held the bag
over my eleven month old, he loves mangoes the most,
as much as I do, as much as his abue, whom he cannot touch.
Instead he places his tiny hands to hers on the windowpane
each time she drops off packages full of fruit empanadas,
long, skinny baguettes, bright yellow packets of seasoning.
I slide my quarantine-eked arroz con pollo and galletas
between her presents, wiped clean, left outside my welcome
mat, six feet six feet six feet our new prayer and a high-desert
front yard, lizards scuttle through the rose bushes, the sun
already pours its heat thick like summer syrup, soon the baby
turns one and my mother will find a way to bake him cake
with rationed flour and then it will be June, July with its violent
rains, but where can we go, where is better, even now,
tell me where is the monsoon season gentle.
Angela María Spring is the owner of Duende District, a mobile boutique bookstore by and for people of color. She holds an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and you can find her recent poems in PANK, Rust + Moth, Radar Poetry, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and forthcoming in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and Pilgrimage. Her essays and reviews are at Catapult, LitHub and Tor.com. Follow her online at Twitter at @BurquenaBoricua.