By | 1 May 2019

For my girlfriend, English is her third language
and I imagine it getting the bronze medal, standing

next to Mandarin with the silver and Vietnamese
with the gold and Finnish not even being able

to compete as she doesn’t speak a word of it.
And for the anniversary of our first date she made me

an apron that said KILL THE COOK and I explained
the difference between KILL and KISS and she asked me

how long it takes someone to make an entire apron,
not just buying an apron and writing on it, but making

a whole apron, and she told me nothing was misspelled
on the gift that I bought her because I purchased

the spelling and I said that she didn’t misspell KISS
but rather turned it into another word and she took

the apron back on a day when I went to buy vermicelli
and grape juice and when I asked what she did with it

she told me that she kissed the apron and that I could
kill the apron good-bye and later when I tried to kiss her

she pulled away and said that she wanted to keep her lips,
that she did not want them to end up like the American dead,

how we put relatives in the ground and then keep them there
forever, that even our cemeteries are a prison system.

A couple of Thanksgivings later, we volunteered at a homeless
shelter, the one where she had donated the apron

and when she found it was no longer there, she got teary.
I asked why she was sad and she told me that she wasn’t sad,

that she never wanted to see me cry and that I would never
see her cry. I asked why she would say such a thing

and she just went back to cooking like our life depended on it.

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