Melissa Garcia Criscuolo

Melissa Garcia Criscuolo is an instructor at Florida Atlantic University. Her poems have appeared in PALABRA: A Magazine of Chicano & Latino Literary Art and Alimentum: the Literature of Food. Her translation of Jose Marti's poem "Dos Patrias" appeared in Subtropics, and she has poems forthcoming in Nibble and Finishing Line Press.

Melissa Garcia Criscuolo

I Used to Think my Tía Óne was a Man

To my four-year-old eyes, Tía Óne was a portrait

of manliness.  Óne never went to the peluquería

with her sister, Bertha, for hair and nails;

Óne’s hair was short and grey, like Pápi Garcia’s.

She wore men’s cologne

which reminded me of my father.

She lived with Bertha, and I thought

they were husband and wife like my parents.

I never saw her in dresses

or skirts—just button-down blouses

and slacks.  She never wore heels like my mother,

preferring mannish loafers and white folded socks

instead, so it came as quite a shock at her funeral

to see her in the casket with fuchsia lips,

ivory eye shadow, and a white dress with periwinkle flowers.

Bertha told us it was her favorite dress.