by Amanda Galvan Huynh
after Melissa Lozada-Oliva
My Spanish spoons the crescent
of my dreams. Her feet walk inside ripples
of a dress sewn with starlight. She holds
my face to untether my tongue from its root
of self-doubt, and leads me into the dark
reflection of the sky. Here, we run—
we run among an uproar of words sprouting:
camino, luna, estrella, casa, calle, coche—
until cities overgrow in my mouth.
People and places I longed to hear
become clear as ice melting in the heat
of a Texas night. My Spanish braids summers
full with field work—her old fingers moving
back and forth tell secretos of spices y ganas—
through the frizz and curls of my Mexican
hair. She tells me, Qué linda. She tells me,
Tu nombre es una canción. My name, a song
when I say it in Spanish: Amanda! Those “A”s
shaken free from English, open their arms
to envelop the Bidi Bidi Bom Bom mi familia
sways to. My Spanish turns over memories
half understood: dancing norteña con mi abuelo.
The beer on his breath, his boots shuffling,
and the scruff of a farmer’s accent. My Spanish
helps me collect abuelo’s words into a jar—
baila, chiquita, cerveza, ojalá, trabajo, algodón—
like bits of metal in a junkyard. I press them
to my ear, to hear the worn leather of his voice:
¿Qué pa-hó mija?
‘stá bien chiquita.
My Spanish cracks open these lines to show me
the softness between las palabras, the untranslatable
in expressions, the pieces I feel are missing
from my whole. My Spanish stays until dawn quiets
the night, asks for me to sing my name into the sun—
because she does not want to forget its music.
Amanda Galvan Huynh has received scholarships/fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Sundress Academy for the Arts, NY Summer Writers Institute, and Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. She was a winner of a 2016 AWP Intro Journal Project Award, a finalist for the 2017 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship, and a 2017 Pushcart Nominee. Her work can be found in RHINO Poetry, Muzzle Magazine, Tahoma Literary Review, Silk Road Review, The Boiler Journal, Front Porch Journal, Huizache, and others.