With Alexander Hermnann

It was easier twenty years ago,
when you could sail through the alphabet
like an eager child,
pronounce the u
with a shy mouth of a manicured surprise,
and buy the pulsing leaves of golden moutardes
with sleek fleshy ease.
It’s like riding a bicycle, you tell yourself,
thinking that your memory will snap into place,
spirit you to the Rue Des Barres,
and that the words will come like magic: Ça n’est pas grave.
You hope that the professor will ask for a volunteer,
to step into the mystery box,
to be cut into half,
and then made whole again.

Dorsía Smith Silva is a Full Professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Her poetry has been published in several journals and magazines in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean, including Apple Valley Review, New Reader Magazine, Portland Review, Rock & Sling, and Heartwood Literary Review. She is also the editor of Latina/Chicana Mothering and the co-editor of six books.