Queridas tías

Nueva York is a meat freezer and there’s no colors. Gray buildings, gray birds, gray bird poop on the metal swings. The only bright things are my thighs, red and purple from the cold. My friend Luz says her uncle lost a leg in Vietnam. He’s not the only one missing something. Across the courtyard lives a guy with long stringy hair and just one arm. The neighborhood kids say he carries a large bone in a bag, so I run when I see him, unless I’m with mamá. Te acuerdas de la niña who sold fruit near our house in Colombia? She was missing a hand. Mario said her mamá cut it off to get money. Cesar said a rat probably ate it. This morning when I walked into the kitchen a gray mouse ran over my foot. His little nails scratched my skin.

Luisa Caycedo-Kimura is a Colombian-born writer, translator, and educator. Her honors include a John K. Walsh Residency Fellowship at the Anderson Center, an Adrienne Reiner Hochstadt Fellowship at Ragdale, and a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in Poetry. Her work has also been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. Luisa’s poems appear or are forthcoming in the Cincinnati Review, Sunken Garden Poetry 1992-2011, RHINO, Diode Poetry Journal, Mid-American Review, Nashville Review, the Night Heron Barks, and elsewhere.