A long American car brakes
near the shade of a dark oak
where we wait.

I pull straight like my mother,
shoulders back, eyes forward.
lowering my lashes

I make the little market
across the two-lane road
shiver like mirage heat.

From a rolled down window,
a blurry man in a damp shirt
tells us the bus to town
won’t come for a long while.

My mother doesn’t answer.
She read the bus schedule.
The man drives away.

I am six.
I’ve experienced kindergarten.
I pretend we weren’t sprayed

with words about savages
standing too long in the sun
to know what’s good for them.

My mother stands strong.
I raise myself higher
in proud nickel likeness.

*Quercus is latin for oak.

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