Chiba

By Amy M. Alvarez

My father called me chiba, mi primer hijo
tomboy, my first son—knuckling the crown
of my head. He said I sat too mannish

my knees splayed, forearms on thighs, 
watching the Knicks on the couch
in his apartment. When I began my model

plane phase, he came to my mother’s house
to help me build an A-10 bomber—each piece
primordial green. We labored over landing gear,
inhaled foul rubber cement.

He mentioned boyhood dreams of building planes, 
watching the work of his hands soar instead of clunking
to life like the radiators and refrigerators he worked on.

I told him I was proud of how he fixed what was broken.
My father half-smiled before burying himself in silence
and instructions. We added decals, painted a shark- 
toothed mouth on the plane’s snubbed nose.



Amy M. Alvarez is a Black Latinx poet. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, Crazyhorse, the Missouri Review, River Styx, and Alaska Quarterly Review. She has received fellowships from arts organizations such as CantoMundo and Macondo. Originally from New York, Alvarez lives in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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