Restless in pleasure’s absence,

I watched when my mother woke,

startled by a rooster

that chimed and paced

on the barbed wire fence.


She pulled the sheet

over her shoulder, sank

into the cushion and lingered

a moment longer

while I pretended to be asleep.


Each morning for the past two years

she turned the crown well

of my father’s watch

how he used to do

before getting out of bed.


My father mostly spoke

the truth, but he lied

when he told me

he liked my jagged bangs

the last time we went to visit.


It took my mother one afternoon

to trim them herself

with a pair of shears

she borrowed from a shepherd

living down the hill.


We both squinted

when we heard a soldier’s whistle.

My father, thinner now, came toward us,

his lips pursed in a frown,

and his hands curled in fists.


Melissa Andres

Melissa Andrés is a poet. Originally from Cuba, she arrived in the United States at the age of six. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared in The Laurel Review, Rattle Magazine, The San Antonio Review, Ligeia Magazine, and Inkwell Journal, among others. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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