It’s the kittens in the window
that draw us together, a grandmother with
grandchildren, and me, passing through.
We bend close, she shows the children
the fluffy animals, and we all smile together,
“Bonita,” I say, and the woman’s face falls,
just a fraction, it’s barely perceptible,
but now she knows. I’ve opened up my mouth,
revealed I’m an extranjera, a stranger, and she
moves away. I fooled her, perhaps, with my looks,
but the spell is broken,
I have betrayed her trust with my accent and faulty grammar.
She moves away, eyes wary now, and I’m guessing
she doesn’t even know why.
I’m one of them.
She scurries away into the night,
and I, too, move on.
Published in Green Dragon 5, 2007