Lecciones de lengua

By Brenda Cárdenas Brenda Cardenas
She is proud of her papá
because he comes
to their little grey school,
converted from army barracks,
to teach español
to Mrs. Brenda’s fifth grade.
And that means they don’t
have to listen to that awful
Señora Beister on TV
with her screech owl version
of “Las mañanitas” and her annoying
forefinger to the ear,
               Escuchen
and then to the lips,
               y repitan.
 
He teaches them to order
Coca-Cola en el restaurán–
               Señor, quisiera una Coca, por favor
and the names of all the utensils–
               cuchara, cuchillo, tenedor.
The children look at him funny
when he picks up the knife.
Next week he will demonstrate
the bullfights he watched
in Mexico when he was muy chiquitito.
He will choose a boy to snort, stomp,
charge the red cloth
that Papá will snap
at his side as he dodges
the sharp-horned strike,
stabs invisible swords
into the boy’s hide
 
               and makes the children laugh.

Brenda Cárdenas, “Lecciones de lengua” from Boomerang. Copyright © 2009 by Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe. Reprinted with permission.

Source: Boomerang (2009)

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Poet Brenda Cárdenas

Subjects Activities, School & Learning, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

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 Brenda   Cárdenas

Biography

A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Brenda Cárdenas is the author of two poetry collections, From the Tongues of Brick and Stone (Momotombo Press) and Boomerang (Bilingual Review Press), as well as the co-editor of Between the Heart and the Land / Entre el corazon y la tierra: Latina Poets in the Midwest. She writes in a blend of English and Spanish, which she has said reflects her interest in “the interconnectedness and . . .

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SUBJECT Activities, School & Learning, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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