Comment allez-vous?
I embarrass her.
I end up apologizing
for speaking French
better than her.
I stutter.

Made small grammar errors no one catches –
I’m not bragging, I’m lost, uprooted, no point of reference –

I’ve changed places
so many times I don’t know
where I’m from,

I try to separate the colors
of the skein, braided together,
holding me up.

My past, memories
blurred together.
Everyone says
I imagined it –
imagined what

I’m not sure exactly:
footsteps in the woods,
too big to be a person,
my brother heard them too
but later he doesn’t remember;
the door creaking open,
someone in the room,
a weight on the bed.
I don’t remember.

A man at the farmer’s market
greets me, “¡hola!” –
¿yo te conozco?
pienso que no –

just assumed the brown guy at the market
was a campesino. Qué pendejo.
I am working the land, though,

that’s about the only contact with living beings I can bear:
digging out a knot of worms from the half-cooked compost.
I take the ball in my hands,
dig a hole for it,
& bury the worms alive.
Requiescat in pace,

we belong to the earth
& to them we return.