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Is this the face
of a tongue?

you Spanish?

this pasty winter olive
this summer hash brown
the color of a language?

you Spanish?

do I have a tilde
for a mustache,

an accent for a brow,

this head of dark waves,
the hair
   of an idiom?

you Spanish?

is this
swarthy pupil
this cold stare
the eye of

you Spanish?

when i open
my mouth,
do you hear
    a dusk of vowels

yeah you Spanish.
don’t understand
a word you say.

Sheila Maldonado is the author of the poetry collections one-bedroom solo (Fly by Night Press, 2011) and that’s what you get, forthcoming from Brooklyn Arts Press. She is a CantoMundo Fellow and a Creative Capital awardee as part of desveladas, a visual writing collective. She lives in uptown Manhattan where she is working on bloodletters, a book about a lifelong obsession with the ancient Maya. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, the daughter of Honduran immigrants.

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