Today they awarded a prize to the happiest girl in the room.
I lost.

She had auburn hair,
scented of coca
cola and cloves,
and a face
to die-for in profile.


I offered the room
the top of my head,
while she made ceremonial rounds.

Happiness is relative,
I told myself,
misery could be better,
depending on the scale,
and if they grade on a curve.

Nothing’s absolute
the man to my right says
Of that I’m absolutely certain

My shoes need shining,
my hose is torn,
my Latina skin showing through
like polka dots, since the Nude
color had in mind
fairer, happier girls.

I feel faint so I fan
my face with the program,
suddenly I need air.

I need space
I need time
I need love

Soft kisses
rain on my face
to wash
life away

You OK?
he asks

I’m fine.
A little too much
excitement for a day.

On the subway home
the gentleman to my left says
May I say, you are very beautiful

I cross my legs
raise my head
and turn to face him.


Β© Chagall 2013