“Queridas Tías,” by Luisa Caycedo-Kimura

Luisa Caycedo-Kimura


Snow falls like fists. Mamá sends Cesar, Tita, and me out to play, build snowmen, like the kids on TV, but Cesar puts it down my coat, makes me scream. The neighborhood boys pack it into ice balls. Yesterday Chickie threw one, hit my back, left me without air. My friend Luz says it’s because he likes me. I don’t want that. Ms. Barratta says the word “Arctic” comes from the Greek word for bear. “Antarctic” means the opposite of bear. I don’t know what that is. Maybe penguins or toucans. En Los Estados Unidos kids have teddy bears. Ms. Barratta says they were named after some president who decided not to shoot one. But he was a hunter. I don’t understand why we left Colombia. Nothing makes sense here. The apartment is crowded and loud with nine of us. Cesar, Tita, and I walk four blocks with a huge heavy bag to do everyone’s laundry. There are no guava trees to climb, no backyard, no swinging around the world from the highest branch.

from Rattle #80, Summer 2023


Luisa Caycedo-Kimura: “My mother taught me to love Spanish-language poetry, reciting it to me from the time I was in utero. However, in the United States, I didn’t think it was possible for a Colombian-born woman to become an English-language writer. So, I pursued a ‘respectable’ career and studied law. It wasn’t until I read the prelude to Sandra Cisneros’s My Wicked Wicked Ways that I finally ‘took up with poetry,’ giving in to my ‘absurd vice’ to live ‘this wicked wanton writer’s life.’” (web)

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