She reminds me of mamá, a Latina fairy godmother–
tough eyes, soft skin, catchphrases no one can spell.
I go over the wall with her, both of us in muumuus and
she says I look tan bonita in polka dots.
I roll my eyes, and she pinches my chin like mamá does.
I wonder why she is here, how she will fare.
Lupe has a family out there, I pray she returns.
We fall asleep cuddled, waiting for cells. I dream.
Gossip says one of my girls is being bullied,
lifers attacking my unclassified muumuus.
I search the dayroom faces for the words we can’t say–
all of us just want to make it out of here.
Lupe has bags under her eyes and tears in them.
She’s not allowed to sleep in her room ‘cos
We leave handcuffed together, to a kinder cage,
and not even the shotgun behind us stops our joy
when the smog fills the air and traffic blocks our path.
These are our skies, roads– our families are here.
I dislocate my shoulder so our linked cuffs don’t cut her skin.
She doesn’t notice because she’s humming for me.
It’s like mamá’s sound, and I pray she makes it home
so her daughter can hear her, and she’ll surely hear her ‘cos