Posts Tagged ‘Spanish’




And though he struggles to conjugate estar

and though his adjectives precede the nouns,

he’s doing it. He’s telling me about una foto

and all its themes—and though the words

are like strange spices in his mouth—paprika

y cilantro—and though he insists he hates it,

there is a tender sinceridad in his voice, like

a tree seed, perhaps, una semilla, that has

some vague idea of its potential, but is still

so trapped in its seed-ness that it is intimidated

by trees. And whatever part of me that is todavia

una semilla recognizes itself. How frightening

to see all that we do not know, to stand

beneath it like the shade of a giant tree,

to know ourselves as small and still stand straight.

My son finishes his descripción, then smiles

at me, and in his smile, I somehow see

the roots, the greening leaves, the trunk

as it reaches up doing what trunks are made to do.





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Say, “I want to drink a beer,”

says the man in the speaker.

It is seven thirty in the morning,

and I have been practicing,

for twenty minutes, how to say

Jo quiero beber una cerveza,

only sometimes the man tells me

to ask for a cold beer, una cerveza fria.

And I do. I ask for un sandwich frio,

too, and repeatedly query, Quanto questa,

how much will it cost, or else I insist,

Hablo un poco de Español, or

No tengo mucho dinero,

I don’t have much money,

but mostly, the man

with the low, clear voice prompts me

to ask for beer. Cold beer. And though

the sun has just barely risen

over the mountain, and though

I only rarely drink beer,

and though I am sipping on a latte,

driving my children to school,

I find myself craving a cold,

cold beer, preferably with a lime,

preferably served on a beach

with a breeze, the sun a giant

glittering peso, the bottle slick

with its own cold sweat,

and some man I don’t see insists

in a low, clear voice, voy a pagar,

jo voy a pagar, I’m going to pay,

and in my perfect Pimsleur accent,

I say to him, gracias, señor, muchas gracias,

and sip my cold beer, waiting

for the next lesson.


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