there's so much room underneath an upturned boat
BY JAVIER ZAMORA
If we don’t know 7 times 7, the nuns
hit our fingers with meter-sticks. 49
answers Chimol, who dropped out
when Mother Superior beat him
for comparing La Odisea’s nymphs
to the town’s whore. It’s our tradition
to name men we’ve seen exit
La Salivosa’s door. Today, Chimol
tests us on anatomy, this pier can’t cool
our bodies at 3 pm. He asks ¿what’s
a pupusa? Our national dish we say.
¿What’s a pupusa? You know, dough
filled with cheese. He’s older,
wiser, his laughter fills the boat.
Caracól means she’s four years
younger than Chimol. ¿Should we
ask her to join us? She has a pupusa,
I’ll show you, he says. She wears
shells in her hair, sweat beneath
her breasts. Caracól we say.
There’s something nervous
inside us, except Chimol,
he’s not stuttering. Her eyes
sit still, wondering if it’s colder
inside. There’s so much room
Chimol says. Enter.
He begins. Her shells rattle.
The rattle, rattling.
Javier Zamora recently completed the 2014-2015 Olive B. O’Connor fellowship at Colgate University. He is the recipient a 2015 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been selected the winner of the 2014 Meridian Editor’s Prize and the 2014 CONSEQUENCE Prize. His poems have been included in Narrative, Ploughshares, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, among others.