Nikita

By Alberto Ríos b. 1952 Alberto Rios
Under a heavy wire milk case,
A piece of concrete foundation
On top, in summer, in her backyard,
Mrs. Russo keeps the cat Nikita safe
From birds, from dogs, from eating
Johnson grass, which he throws up.
Nikita waits for ants to wander in
And for the sun to leave.
Instead, she comes to keep him
Company, saying You look fat
And that her son died,
Remember I told you?
Walking thin in his uniform
On a road.

Alberto Ríos, “Nikita” from The Lime Orchard Woman (Bronx: Sheep Meadow Press, 1988). Copyright © 1988 by Alberto Ríos. Used by permission of the author.

Source: The Lime Orchard Woman (The Sheep Meadow Press, 1988)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Alberto Ríos b. 1952

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Relationships, Pets

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Alberto  Ríos

Biography

Alberto Ríos has won acclaim as a writer who uses language in lyrical and unexpected ways in both his poems and short stories, which reflect his Chicano heritage and contain elements of magical realism. "Ríos's poetry is a kind of magical storytelling, and his stories are a kind of magical poetry," commented Jose David Saldivar in the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Ríos grew up in a Spanish-speaking family but was forced to . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Pets

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.