Note for Daughters: A Poem

Fresno poet Sara Borjas is the author of Heart Like a Window, Mouth Like a Cliff. She teaches at UC Riverside and was featured in Poets & Writers’ 2019 “Debut Poets.”

poet sara borjas
Poet Sara Borjas.
ILLUSTRATION BY MARTIN GEE

after Diana Marie Delgado

my mother taught me to appear
an opportunity
to paint my nails neatly
carry both eyes in my future
my parents, still, are married

my mother earned us a gentle
house with wind for a guest
and resentment for a central
feeling I sleep on the footsteps
of men that forget to eat

in evenings lemon trees
gather like a happy hour
my mother and I can drink
next to but never amidst
my hands are busted clocks

keeping time with a man’s shadow
this articulation is essentially
a manicure I’ve perfected
and so I warn daughters
leave them, leave them

even as they walk out the door
when I was seven my mother
taught me to cover with pink
my nails and this is the last time
without pity, we touched

Read Borjas’ “To the Woman Who Said She Could Hear My Accent.”

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