The 2River View 19.3 (Spring 2015)

Juanita Rey

Behind the Foreman’s Back

The others laugh behind the foremen's back.
The man has only a thumb on his right hand.
He lost the other four to an accident
with the machinery.
They call him Captain Hook,
though he has no hook,
merely a stump and a solitary thumb.
Marcial is my fellow countryman.
He laughs as loud as any of them.
And he can't do a hard day's work
with two hands.
Too much time talking baseball
with his compinches.
I don't defend the foreman
though I know he would me.
After all, he's shown me
the photograph of his family.
He too is Dominican.
Came here with empty pockets.
Now he does well.
Vacations at the shore.
Comfortable apartment in the city.
But then he looks at me,
and even Marcial,
feels too guilty to be proud.
What if I, a man, could get...
had got pregnant,
like poor Juanita, he says.
What if I had it too easy
like lazy boy Marcial.
He's given muscle and sweat
and time—so many hours—
to make it work.
But it's not all perfect, he says.
He has those missing fingers
just in case.

The Man Who Got Me Into This Fix

He waves through the car window.
I shrug him off.
Qué nos paso
He’s half pregnant though he
does not know this.

Chica, he calls me.
He hears the American word “chick”
and he plays with it
like he does with all women.

I return to my job arranging tulips.
The uglier I get,
the defter my hand at beauty.

I will see him drive by every day
until I grow so fat
he will no longer know it’s me.

I’ll just be one more fulana
bearing someone else’s baby.

He is an empresario.
A fine word for when there is no meaning.

Juanita Rey is a Dominican poet who has been in the United States for five years.

« Jack Powers Ron Riekki »