Fermina looked at me without seeing that I could see her.
I was a new thing in her house,
in the mornings sitting across the table, braless in the sunlight that came
rectangular through the doorframe where the young cats curled.
Reminded, she lifted her own small, heavy breasts
one at a time trying vacantly to look at them.
At night she watched TV. I sat with her,
her left side fallen, her speech repeating and without consonants.
“That cowboy keeps kissing all the women,” I said of the telenovela,
because I could think of how to say it in Spanish,
and because he did. She laughed
and looked away from it to me,
the black and white TV light all over the furniture, flickering,
taking the walls on and off of the room.
(Recipient of the 1st annual Dirtcakes Benefit Poetry Award. Posted by permission of the author.)