by Luisa Caycedo-Kimura

La señora chiquita, bless her soul,
thanked God every morning
because her daughters
were more beautiful than her.
She was pretty, Carmen tells me,
but the daughters
didn’t like her
because of her marido.

One morning she went to the fábrica
with two broken ribs. Winced
at the sewing machine
but never told no one.

The guys Piano and Tomato
played bongos in the courtyard.
They got a red convertible
and the chicas went nuts.
Red heels, cut-off shorts,
earrings that looked like pixie dust.

At eleven o’clock, cops
chased him down 20th street.
Revved engines. Lights.
The streets got quieter.

June and July we went
to a park’s program
below the Triboro Bridge.

Weekends, we played at an open hydrant.
That was the summer Carlos kissed me.
His tongue circled mine,
like tasting a root beer ice pop.


Luisa Caycedo-Kimura was the 2014 John K. Walsh Residency Fellow at the Anderson Center at Tower View, the 2014 Adrienne Reiner Hochstadt Fellow at Ragdale, and a 2013 Robert Pinsky Global Fellow in Poetry. Luisa holds an MFA from Boston University. Born in Colombia and raised in New York City, Luisa left the legal profession to pursue her passion for writing. She has received numerous awards for her poetry and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Pilgrimage, Mid-American Review, Nashville Review, Jelly Bucket, PALABRA, FRIGG Magazine, Sunken Garden Poetry 1992-2011, and elsewhere.