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Cada Regalo Perfecto — Mexico, 2002

by Deja Early


Watching the orphans scramble on their playground of half-buried tires,
I wish our
pencils, paper, sharpeners, chalkboards, glue
were instead
bubbles, candy, matchbox cars, silly string, ice cream.
I turn my purse inside out.

The Altoids to a boy who sketches me on his new chalkboard,
looking up again and again to get the nose righta Sesame Street oval.

My lipgloss to a slouching girl with an unpronounceable name
who loves geography and sweeps the cloistered walkways every day.

The crackers to a sweaty boy I snatch at group picture time
to be my friend for the count of three.

My frozen water bottle to those
we watch through the back window of the bus
who jump and wave
in the dust and trash and shattered flowerpots
next to the Cristus in the dry fountain,
His robe magenta,
His arms open,
a plump bird perched in his hand.