Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s Lucky Fish was the Rumpus Poetry Book Club selection for December 2010. You can read Camille Dungy’s essay on why she chose Lucky Fish here, and you can read the Poetry Book Club’s chat with her here
I Am Six
with thanks to Yusef K.
& when my mother waters the tomato & pepper plants, I steal drinks from the penny-taste of the garden hose. It is my favorite drink. I am six & think to cross the street by myself from time to time, but never do. I am six, my sister is five, & we hide inside clothing racks at the store just to feel the black-sick fill our round bellies when we get lost, lost, lost from our mother. I am six & I am laughing with a mouthful of cashews. I think nuts is the funniest word I have ever heard. I am six & I break all of my mother’s lipsticks & glue them together & put them back in her bathroom drawer. She’ll never notice. Sometimes I find sad envelopes, the ones with red and blue stripes, meaning these envelopes fly, meaning thin feathers, meaning bird with a little worm in the beak. Envelopes from her father, I think—she snatches them from my hand & says, No, no, where did you get these? Now put them back.