Sara Borjas – Letter Beginning in My Voice and Ending in My Mother’s

Sara Borjas

Letter Beginning in My Voice and Ending in My Mother’s

                Don’t act like when you warm up 
rice in the microwave tonight you won’t think 

                about the mornings you dried out coke
 on the blue ceramic plate—the one with honey 

                painted gladiolas, heat glittering 
into creases of your fingers.

                And don’t pretend when you smudge 
black mascara on your fingertips, you don’t remember

                how you held that globie for too long, 
the cauterizing flame painting ponds 

                on curled glass. You used to believe 
your hands were attractive, that your chance

                to escape Pinedale was that Nivea
gig, You, a hand model. You, your own door

                you could not open from the inside.
The most feminine thing on my body 

                is inherited. Cloak. No, cape. No, sable sequence
slit dress, dignified, slipping like wind
                through the Chinese Elm in our front yard. 
So many men have exaggerated this grace

                for your attention, asked, has anyone ever told you
and you assumed no one ever had. These men reach
                over the speckled, marble bar to touch your hands.
You can’t tell which you want and which you deserve.

                Sometimes, a woman wears a dress so long, 
not knowing it, she forgets her legs.
                Sometimes, a daughter wears her inheritance 
so long, she forgets she can change. 

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