Mother worried about holes in the road,
afraid the bus would hit one
and the monkey in her hair
would wake on their way to Lima.
There, she studied economics
and wore pearl necklaces
Abuelita had made
under the only lamp in the house.
The monkey, Tito,
was a gift,
moved from his tree in the Amazon
into my mother’s curls
where Abuelita couldn’t see him.
Away from the Amazon,
Tito was asleep,
unable to tell my mother his dreams
of seeing everything from the tree tops
and howling back to his family.
When Abuelita found him,
she made Tito a bed under the lamp,
praying him peace as she inspected pearls.
He still died from the cold.
Away from her Amazon,
here, in the United States,
Mother is silenced by English,
far from Abuelita,
unable to howl back to me.
Still, I ask her to tell me about Lima,
Tito, and Abuelita
as we eat hot dogs and fries downtown,
hoping her own voice