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Nikita

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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)
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Nikita

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