GRAFFITI: SOLTERA IN THREE
(For All My Friends of the Feminist Resolve)
Those were her graffiti on the quartet
of trees atop the park hill. He saw them.
Will you marry me? That would have
sounded like a doleful plea. A dare, maybe?
Get those trees to say them. She plotted.
After all, were they not his conspirators
on those sultry nights when they would
giggle at the slightest tickle of twig or cone
on their backs? Be gentle with me, she said.
She is back on the park’s toboggan hillock,
this time with the child he would not have.
Mother, she said, look at how happy they
Are. They are all, all my children now.
She could not see their faces from the hill,
but she could make their laughter out
over the din of bells calling them back
to the nursery school her brave girl built.
Be gentle with them, Maestra, she said.
Soltera,* she would introduce herself ,
as she would have described her mother,
except this strong woman in her arms,
looking bravely at the stream of children
toddling behind them, would not admit
to her being alone or lonely. Graffiti on
the quartet of trees have long disappeared
under unforgiving barks. But they are there.
Be gentle with me is a warning, not a plea.
---ALBERT B. CASUGA