From Empire: Two Triolets

1

If a lie is half-truth is it easier to forgive?
Those ships never came for just pepper and spice.
In the hold, mapmakers were ready with cubits and cursive.
If a lie is half-truth is it easier to forgive?
In their chronicles, they wrote of the breasts of natives,
of their short stature or propensity to violence or lies.
If a lie is half-truth is it easier to forgive?
Those ships never came for just pepper and spice.

2

Grandmother smoked cigarillos with the lit ends in her mouth.
I wondered why milk came in paper-wrapped cans imprinted with “Marca Oso,”
why cheese was queso, why cloth napkins were servilletas. Even in her youth,
grandmother smoked cigarillos with the lit ends in her mouth.
Cousins twice removed cut sugarcane or harvested fruit down south;
they grew dark in the sun and spoke a kind of creole called Chavacano.
Grandmother smoked cigarillos with the lit ends in her mouth;
not all could afford the milk wrapped in cans with “Marca Oso.”

 

In response to Via Negativa: By Any Other Name.

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