(for my father)

You cut a mango once, showed me
how to score a grid in the juicy pulp
with a sharp blade
—as if I’d ever try—

I’m not good with my hands
It’s words I loved, always
Or seeking the right ones

English and Spanish were
the smooth skin, the sticky flesh
My self the fibrous core that’s
neither one nor the other, 
yet still both

You’d shake your head,
say I was thinking in English,
that I should translate the idea

Te piden un ojo de la cara
It costs an arm and a leg

Un comemierda
Is an asshole

Easy when you know the trick
like that mango
when you popped back the rosy orange peel,
turned the fruit inside-out

The scent remains
flowery and sweet
an echo with your laugh

Pero ahora se me enreda la lengua
But now I’m tongue-tied

Strange, how this one is literal
When there’s no translation
for a world where you’re gone
and still everywhere

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Madeleine French
Madeleine French has been telling stories since she was a girl and is now writing full-time. You may find her in front of a sewing machine or behind a copy of Persuasion. Her work has appeared in Hidden Peak ReviewPoetica Review, and Sour Cherry Mag. Madeleine and her husband divide their time between Florida and Virginia.

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