Slippery Red
Deborah Paredez

Her hair—slippery red-
fish, sun-caught auburn

glints, not like mine, thick
pitch, nor her father’s coarse

coils. The first time her ambered
head met my breast I was sure

of nothing—Hmm—low hum
in my head, first mother-

tremor, I thought somehow
I’d recognize her—Huh—but

what hubris made me
believe I should already know

her? Mornings I part
and strand and braid and still

fine wisps fringe her face
curling back toward themselves.

Deborah Paredez is the author of the poetry volume, This Side of Skin, and the critical study, Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory. Her poetry and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Poetry, Callaloo, and elsewhere. She is the co-founder and co-director of CantoMundo, a national organization dedicated to Latina/o poets and poetry. She teaches in the School of the Arts at Columbia University.

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