“la vuelta” by Connie Mae Oliver

i will go to sleep once
my hair is wrapped
with the pterodactyl clips
we’re going to the center
of Valencia to take my
passport photos this is why my hair
will be straight tomorrow
 
abuela is in her dormilona
in the kitchen
pouring whiskey
she tells me go back
but i say no
 
when she visited us in miami she said
have you ever dialed 911
 
dial it she said
 
so you can practice &know how to
 
do you mean right now?
she was like ánda
 
well i don’t
have an emergency
she was like
 
say wrong number
 
it’s just for practice
 
911 what is your emergency nothing i said
no darkness in the dark darkened still and floral
 
i did not forget
who i was last time i passed out i had instead
never known and that was
the worst
 
my grandmother i have said is “the worst”
because of her sharp manicure
the mean songs she sings
she gave me the middle finger
when i was eight and i remember thinking
whatever
 
she wrote poems
they’re trapped in Valencia
in a cabinet with avon samples
 
she did write poems
i said to her i would translate
them but i’ve left her edging oblivion
with no one like me there to not
take it from her to not wring my hands
 
driving alone in Miami
when it’s hot as fuck after a day in the A/C
the steering wheel burns
i pass the airport and resent her in a loved state
only the eldest granddaughter knows
you can’t talk to me that way
you can’t talk to her that way

 

Photo Credit: “La otra vuelta” by Manola Oliver, provided by the author.

About the author

Connie Mae Oliver is a Venezuelan poet and artist. Her second book of poems, science fiction fiction (Spuyten Duyvil Press) is forthcoming in May 2020. She is the founding editor of FEELINGS and lives in New York. Visit Feelings at thefeelingsjournal.com or on Instagram at thefeelingsjournal.

Back to Top