The new year is five days young and you
become a little girl through your son.
Three weeks back, you helped him write
his I’ve-been-a-good-boy letter to Baltasar
and put it in your mailbox, flag up. He
did not want a piece of coal for disobeying
or answering you back, so he’s proudly waiting
for the tricycle and other gifts los Tres Reyes Magos
will bring tonight. In the evening, Melchor, Gaspar,
and Baltasar parade through the streets of your home
city, riding their two-hump camels, their pages
tossing candy that you and your son catch with a big
plastic bag. It rains confetti that kids, big and small,
on foot, in strollers, in their mothers’ arms, want
to touch, little fingers dancing in the air. It’s
time to run home, clean shoes, place them
in the living-room under el Belén abuela
put up before Christmas. You leave leche,
turrón, and agua fresca out for the travel-worn
Reyes, some alfalfa for their rides, and get your son
ready for bed, tuck him in, tell him to fall asleep
fast so that Los Reyes can come and leave
his presents for him to open in the morning. You
have to run one more errand—the helmet
you couldn’t pick up earlier from the closest
Toy Planet in El Centro Comercial.
It’s dark and empty. You’re driving
your mother’s car—Christmas songs
on the radio, thoughts of your son’s big eyes,
big smile in the morning floating on your mind.
A traffic light.
A speeding car.
You _ _ _
Mari-Carmen Marín was born in Málaga, Spain, but moved to Houston, TX, in 2003, where she has found her second home. She is a professor of English at Lone Star College—Tomball, and enjoys dancing, drawing, reading, and writing poetry in her spare time. Writing poetry is her comfy chair in front of a fireplace on a stormy winter day. Her work has appeared in several places, including, Wordriver Literary Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, Dash Literary Journal, Months to Years, The Awakenings Review, Lucky Jefferson, San Fedele Press, Willowdown Books, The Comstock Review, The Green Light Literary Journal, Mothers Always Write, Breath & Shadow, The Ekphrastic Review, Poets’ Choice, iō Literary Journal, Kaleidoscope, Toho Journal Online, Poetica Review, Sepia Journal, Litbreak Review, Magnolia Review, Speckled Trout Review, New Reader Magazine, Off Topic Publishing, Honeyguide Literary Magazine, or Tint Journal. Her debut poetry book, Swimming, Not Drowning, was published by Legacy Book Press in 2021.