“Who the fuck do you think you are?”
my mother yelled over the phone, to the cell phone
I had left behind in my high school locker room.
It had been stolen – so had my mother.
I had never heard her utter any swear
and I swear I saw her: in the streets of Jamaica Queens
proving her worth despite her five foot frame, Latina blood hot.
The thief called my house from my phone
as if I myself had planned it, simply to pull back the suburbs
from this woman who had given me life,
her words coming out like punches
until she smashed the phone down, smiled up
at me and said, “I may not know them,
but now they sure as hell know me.”

January 24, 2014


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