La niña (a poem)

La niña sits
snuggled close to her father
A stranger’s smile
sends her burying her face
into his cotton dress shirt
which smells of sunshine
and Palmolive
orange-red sopa
is set on the table
hot! – hot!
(caliente y picante both)
oily circles float on the surface
looking like the puddles at a carwash that Papi says not to touch,
but this, he says,
Eat. Coma. Andalé pues,
and puts a warm tortilla into her hand.

– Tracy López


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