Please forgive me, I did not ask the internet for permission
to call it a bodega, the small corner market less than
a two minute walk from the third floor apartment on Pacific,
no less than I was allowed to let my cheeto fuzzed fingers fold
over the pleats of my crisp maroon and gray skirt. In those days,
I confessed my sins to a priest I was not sure would ever see heaven.
How could he? Had he tried the empanadas from the corner market
on Pacific and Elm — fried crispy corners enveloping ground beef
and yet the juices running? Was this not absolution? I believe
in small and human graces: the pleasure of lunchtime
in the crowded cafeteria, the salve of antibiotic on a skinned knee,
water from the rusty faucet after the kickball game on the asphalt
parking lot. Miraculous, those empanadas, and oh they tasted good
to me, they tasted good to me. Sorry I—
am not sorry.
Carla Sofia Ferreira is a Portuguese-American poet who grew up in Newark, New Jersey and who teaches high school English in Newark today. A recipient of fellowships from the Sundress Academy for the Arts and DreamYard Radical Poetry Consortium, her microchap Ironbound Fados was published in 2019 by Ghost City Press. She believes in community gardens, semicolons, and that ICE must be permanently abolished. For a copy of her free poetry prompt chapbook, Eat a Persimmon, created for high schoolers and their teachers, please go here: https://www.carlasofiaferreira.com/post/eat-a-persimmon.