Ten Items or Less


Near taro root and tomatillo husks,
“What’s something intriguing confined to five
plain words?” Coyotes only howl at dusk
to see who’s still there, who is still alive.
When families echo thin, when calls come back
faint, females right away enter estrus.
A mother crow, when mourning, plucks her black
tail plumage, squawking away, helplessly,
for hours. It’s funny, when we all buried
my brother, mom spread herself over his coffin.
She squeezed, didn’t cry, and she whispered I’m sorry.
It’s okay meijo, it’s okay, like she often
did when we were hurt. She poked me and said,
placing a bag in the cart, “Five words.” I said,

“Motherhood has its own language.”