I am two years ten months old,
beloved first-born: am told my face
is open as windows, my smiles gems
of happiness, when baby sister is born.
I remember being taken to visit
Amma and the wrinkly new baby
too in the hospital, in the morning, right
before I have to go to Mrs. Pinto's "school."
And I remember the chill of nerves
the clunky thump of suspense, feeling
so sneaking clever when--patting her tenderly,
I tell my parents: "Baby sister--Chelli Paapa--
is so, so beautiful; I don't want to go to school."
My ploy creeps on, it has lived many lives
it has floated past memory's borders,
the recall slowly fading.
When I retell it now, on this whole other continent,
my own kids chortle, roll their eyes, call me
"playa." My face is a window, is a mirror,
my face is a door that lets the lie in.
But my parents have told this story for decades,
in a haze of earnestness, claimed 'blessings
--love or beauty or children, or the hazy
necessity of whatever comes next.