things my mother is scared of

thus cautions me about

 

by Sylvia Beato

 

polyester

skipping breakfast

running between the hours of one and three

drinking with strangers

hot sauce

what the neighbors say when they talk about you 

questioning gender

dancing

not taking a sweater por si acaso

sushi

forgetting to remind us

          how our grandmother scaled fish in winter

          how her hands peeled and cracked

          how they shriveled like claws and gripped your face

to kiss you