She was a puta from Puerto Rico
With razor bladed pockets
Whenever she worked Esmeralda
But now just a snow white version of then
In a rust-belted tenement flat.
I'm two days from Christmas
On State Street, Perth Amboy
With paperwork stuffed in my pockets
Beneath the smelting of snow.
She called me "m'ijo," her vernacular son,
Which conjured for me Señora Stein:
("I sounds like e, j sounds like h. Répita, por favor.")
"M'ijo del Welfare"
In Stately New Jersey terms
On whose forms she wrote her "†"
As I duly witnessed and noted
The tears in her eyes
When she showed me the tablets
To ease the disease of her youth.
"Para la vagina," she said to me
("G sounds like h, i sounds like e, vagina, répita, vagina)
This Spanish-English heteronym
That scrapes like a worn out razor blade.
In the spirit of Christmas I show her my thermos:
"Sí, sí café. Dos cafés."
Desperate to find some Spanish for "us,"
I pour. We sit. I now recall,
"Sí, sí, nosotros, café, nosotros."
With all of our o's now meaning the same:
So nice, now smiling, no shame.