stand straight, poise it prettily on your head:


Amalia Mayita MendezHola Mama, Hempstead, LI (photograph)


At twelve, I sold tamales
at Sunday soccer matches;
that day
I didn’t want
to help, Mamá.
You bitched me out and
smacked me and I left
angry. He waited
at the sidelines.
We smoked mota,
drove around, and he
pulled up my skirt, he
gripped my neck, he hit
me, and left me in Colima.
I walked the brown mountain’s
lines of corn—slashed and burned—
‘til the long stretch
of road, and since
I was such a dumb girl
I carried it, Mamá,
the guilt balanced
on my head
like a plastic jug
of rainwater.


Alexandra Lytton Regalado