She has one thing brought across the ocean
travelled across the country
back and forth and back again.

I sit on the edge of the bed
at the nursing home
and she tells me
Take it home with you
Take it home
My doll
Take it home.

Her mother gone at 44.
Unlucky.  Four.  Four.
Made her the one thing that she thinks of now.
The one thing she worries about.

I say, in my faltering language,
Auntie must have.
Auntie must have always.
Auntie’s mother make.  I know.
I know Most Important Thing.
I know precious.
I help.  You have.  On top of dresser.
Maybe [shelf], doll only.
I use my hands to draw the word I do not know.

She repeats in English in case I don’t understand.
You take.  You take.
I have to leave.
Friday.  Tuesday.  Thursday.

I bring her a notebook
Tell her Write down important thing
Write down what I do
Write down what Auntie take to new place
I do, [okay]?  I do.  You need something, I do.

You write your language, [okay].  I read.  Write easy word.
I can read.  My friend can read.  Friend help.  Everything [okay].
Sunday.  Thursday.  Monday.  I look in the book.


The last time

I said your name tonight
by accident
when I meant to say another.

I haven’t said your name aloud
but maybe wondered
who else was thinking about you.

My cousin spoke right away
and said they’d never found out
who left you for dead.

I said your name tonight
and found somebody else remembered.

Somebody else remembered.

I never meant to say your name.