Ah, Frank, the Chamorro, and best next-door-neighbor we've had in a long time. God help me if you read this.


Frank swears there’s Chamorro blood rioting in his veins;
it keep his hair dark and causes some nasty heart palpitations.

His backyard is full of washing machines.
He owns a small plumbing business and he switches the parts

out of each machine so often on slow days
that he no longer knows which belt belongs to which drum.

When it takes more than two hours to gut one washer
and reconstruct another, I send for the police.

They’ve come over twice in the past month
to pry Frank’s tools from his bloodied hands

while he hollers and pants on the floor of his shed,
screaming about how no self-respecting ex-Guamanian warrior

will be bested by some piece-of-shit tin can
designed to scrub the lace off ladies’ underwear.

He destroys a perfectly good washing machine
every time this happens.

Last Friday I brought him a turtle shell I found by the riverbed.
I thought he could use it as a water bowl for his cats

but Frank said he used to wear his father’s tortoise-shell belt buckle
until he lost it in a flood ten years ago.

He cleared his throat and put his hands on his hips,
said he’d like to think of me as a daughter from then on

if I didn’t mind. He wanted to cook me some island food,
tapioca or maybe some hibiscus buds baked into a pie.

He glanced at my broad shoulders, my narrow feet,
and told me a Chamorro’s feast sticks to one’s bones,

keeps the eyes a pretty shade of green and leaves the warriors
swooning in a woman’s yard like a flock of toads.



Adrianna said…
Hey, I'm in your house reading your poems. Which, of course, are awesome.

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