Amá Teaches Me How to Whistle

By Moncho Ollin Alvarado

She said, it's facil, look up, kiss everything,
hold the sun between your mouth,

blow like this * * * * * ****
**** * **** ****

after I told her I was a woman, she wrinkled
the space between us by hugging me.

She told me, "you confused?"
I said, is the fire confused when it eats?

& told her, I'm going by she & my real name,
the one I was born with, not given, she said,

"you are not what it says on your driver's license,"
amá, gracias
for believing in this ordinary phenomenon,

like the DNA that made grapes, it made them
a million times before, a million times after,

I have one in my mouth, how round this knowledge,
the gush in my mouth: sweet, tart, & bitter, oh amá,

I finally learned how to whistle like you:
* * * * * ****
**** * **** ****


Directed by Matthew Thompson.

Poem used with permission of Saturnalia Books.