CASSANDRA IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

Oriana Ivy

 

Te idiotki, my hostess calls
the American women.
“These idiots go in public like that,”
she exclaims at the sight
of housewives helmeted in rollers.
Hawaiian muumuus splash
hibiscus in the produce aisles:
 “That’s how these idiots dress” –
When we see a young family:
“These idiots marry at eighteen
and have five children.”

           

With a wave of her bony but still
elegant hand, she points to
an overflowing shopping cart –
skyscrapers of canned soup,
soda pop, Puffa-Puffa Rice –
“Isn’t it vulgar?”

 

Then she turns toward me
as I stand there with my meek
girl-from-a-good-home smile.
Eyes me sharply
up and down.
For the first and only time,

 

she addresses me in English:
You will never make it.
You don’t know
how to sell yourself.
Her hard “r” in never
laughs like a knife.

 

 

Oriana Ivy please see Oriana’s full biography in her additional works in this issue and on the Author’s Page.