The Woman in the Market
Erin Rodoni

The Woman in the Market

calls me hija, daughter.
Que quiere hija, que quiere?
The sweetness of rotten

papaya glues a layer of sap
to my eyelids. Lista para hoy,
ripe today, she tries. I buy it

anyway. Its strange leprous
flesh warm as mine.
Even supine, my hands

split the rind. I notice
her later, walking alone
over ruptured cobblestone.

With apparent ease she shifts
a basket I could barely lift
from head to hip, sways

with the shade beneath
verandas, until she drifts
through a hidden door

in a bullet-strafed wall.
I glimpse a shadowy parlor
of dark wood, yellow lace.

A rocking chair cradles
some ancient abuelita,
made mostly of tendon

and bone. I hear
the offended church-
lady clucks of chickens

shooed from the kitchen,
before the rusty screen door bleats
shut—a hymn for the men

who are missing.

Erin Rodoni

is a writer, massage therapist, and recovering nomad. She is the recipient of a 2013 Intro Journals Award from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. Her poems have appeared, or will appear, in Best New Poets 2014, Colorado Review, Verse Daily, Verse Wisconsin, Nimrod, Word Riot, Chautauqua, Midwestern Gothic, and elsewhere. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two-year-old daughter.