Today we study los verbos como gustar,
the verbs like, to like. Repeat after me.
Amar, to love.
Doler, to hurt.
Molestar, to bother.
Parecer, to appear to be.
It appears to be that I love you,
only that it hurts the tip of my finger
to brush it off as a blush of cranberry under my eye.
No, I don’t want to be a bother, but you had me at ¡hola!
It is funny that we learned how to count together.
I make tea during lunch hour, you joke around with the girls
while I stir a honey-dipped sugar-coated spoon in
the paper cup, going over and over the colored pages
of our exercise book.
I am drawn to a painted picture of Cervantes;
you vibe more with Santana. Between classes we read
Chasqui, the Peruvian Mail. Sometimes, we share a singular
copy in the mail rack.
The cinnamon-scent still full in my mouth, you turn around
to kiss me almost, unknowing I was sitting so upclose, to return
my blue pen from yesterday, lo siento, señorita, and I cannot help
but laugh at your innocence and the rapidity of things.