Issue 48 — Lalita Noronha
Winner of the 2011 ArLiJo Poetry Award
Nomination: 2011 Pushcart Prize for Poetry
On bar stools,
two dirty martinis between us,
two plump, pierced olives bear witness
to mundane words—
your family trip to some island, my kids in college,
your teaching career, my award winning book—
words running into piano ripples
and tinkling talk.
The bartender rims glasses in sea salt,
pours margaritas, floats lime wedges on the rocks.
I can tell you remember
forty years later that I loved margaritas.
Still we speak of ordinary things—
anything but timing,
how fate flew you to America,
left me behind in India.
You drain your glass, leave the olives behind,
pay the bill, walk me to my car.
We say goodbye with barely a kiss.
But when I turn the car key,
you lean into my window, wordless,
look at me, away, and back again,
not saying what you could have said.
“Will you write about us?” you ask.
Copyright © 2011 by Lalita Noronha.
Lalita Noronha, born in India, is a scientist, writer, poet, and fiction editor for The Baltimore Review. She has been published in over seventy journals and anthologies, and she has won The Maryland Literary Arts Award twice and the National League of American Pen Women awards among others. She has been featured on WYPR, The Signal. The short story collection titled Where Monsoons Cry is her latest publication. Noronha lives in Baltimore.