One Maria orders decaf, the others café con leche.
One Maria speaks Portuguese, another Italian,
another Spanish, another English. One Maria left
her firstborn son in Peru. Another Maria was infertile
until her fifth IVF treatment. One Maria has a boy
and a girl. One Maria has a dog, whom she calls baby
girl. One Maria waves to you in the park, the other
always looks away. One Maria once knew a man
who grew a butterfly in his chest. One Maria hiked
the Andes with her true love. One Maria eloped,
her belly swollen like a papaya. One Maria was the first
in her family to go to college. Two Marias are lawyers.
One Maria has a PhD. All Marias are bilingual. One
Maria believes in a higher being. The others are not
so sure. One Maria prays to Santa Maria for her husband
to return safely from Cuba. One Maria prays to Santa
Maria for her husband to be taken in the next hurácan.
One Maria finds a lump in her right breast. Another
Maria finds two in her left. Two Marias have a biopsy;
one flies 1,100 miles for a double mastectomy.
One Maria is healthy. One Maria is overweight. One
Maria does yoga. The other Maria never saw it coming.
One Maria lost her madre, her tia, her abuela to the same
disease. One Maria laughs out loud. The other Maria
has a laugh that flutters in her chest. One Maria
cries herself to sleep. One Maria feasts on pomegranate
seeds believing they will heal her. Another Maria
buys Maria cookies, wolfs down the entire pack
with a glass of wine and dreams herself to sleep.
Originally from Long Island, NY, Catherine Prescott is the author of the chapbook The Living Ruin (Finishing Line Press). Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pleiades, Bellevue Literary Review, Poetry East, MiPOesias, Linebreak, and elsewhere. A graduate of NYU’s MFA program in Creative Writing-Poetry, Catherine lives with her husband, two sons, and daughter in Miami Beach, FL.
Photo: “Lamentablemente” by Bobbi Le’ Rae Valentin