Santa Barbara, California

You see them
If you choose:
Hands that push
Rags, rakes, brooms.
And tucked among
The pay stubs:
The Spanish
You forgot
Or never learned.
Tucked among the soap slivers:
The ceremonies
You forgot
Or never learned.
Soon the maid
Will go home,
Wash her hands,
Make the sign
Of the cross
With an egg
Over the feverish
Body of a child.
You are that child.
The maid, your mother,
Will leave the closet
Light on for you.
When you wake up
You will have the words,
At last, to offer praise.

Demetria Martinez is the author of three collections of poetry and a novel, Mother Tongue.

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