by Zachary Caballero

Did I tell you about the cardinal
in my backyard?
I saw a bright red body leap from the ground
and didn’t think it looked so tough.
Thought of my heart, thought of how hard
it is just to pick up the pieces, but
did I tell you about class last week?
I ask my students to read their poems
out loud to one another.
A student asks me what it means
to be vulnerable and I am not afraid
to tell her the truth.
She tells me she’s only
nervous in front of one person,
whispers his name because it
is still soft and simple, and I can’t remember
the last time I whispered a name like good news.
Did I tell you about the good news?
Cindy Phan is going back to Vietnam.
Cindy Phan is my barber and she calls me handsome.
Cindy Phan hasn’t seen her family in six years
Cindy Phan crossed the ocean because
she was sick, and now she is better.
Did I tell you about the time I got better?
Oh, it wasn’t very extravagant.
Everyone just said they loved me
and meant it.