The Good Provider

The best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact.
My mother took my heart out. She banked it on top of her stove.
It glowed white. She put it back in my chest.
Tita knew that overseas workers often had affairs.
He licked me and I pretended it pinged through my body like a swift idea
That I wrote about and considered like a bell of good craftsmanship.
He also knew that their kids ate better
He said your belly is like a cat’s.
He said with his bowl up to his chin
More please.
At night the fireflies come out. They flock to my window.
I put my hands up against the screen.
I think how fragile it is to be inside a house.
They say I want permission
I paint my face. I say—just take it.
Easy. If equally matched, we can offer battle.
If unequal in any way, we can flee from him.
Deprived of their father while sustained by his wages.
I thought a lot about walking around at night.
By myself. Just to think. But I never did.
I thought I could just flick a switch.
When I was born, my mother and father gave me a gardenia like personal star.
Don’t you hate it when someone apologizes all the time?
It’s like they are not even sorry.

Sarah Gambito, "The Good Provider" from Delivered. Copyright © 2009 by Sarah Gambito.  Reprinted by permission of Persea Books,
Source: Delivered (Persea Books, 2009)
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