Erika Meitner

Quisiera Declarar

The primary purpose
of this trip is the (check
the box) the yes business
of this peripatetic
pleasure trip is declared is
vanished is I almost
disappeared once to O-O-
Okalahoma with a
(check the box) a man I
fell in (____) with over
the business of close
proximity over the
roving (yes) phone.
Another time it was
a guy on a plane to
Bangkok. He got off in
New Delhi, got off in
Bombay, got off in
Alaska on the
refueling stopover,
left me with
fruits plants food insects
left me with
meats animals wildlife products
left me with
a hickey as big as
Chiang Mai, and a case of
continental drift. Shift
me one gear up (clutch) to
local, available,
single, potable. Drink
me down and don’t worry—
I won’t hang on like
typhoid or dysentery.
I own an imaginary
boyfriend extraordinaire:
tongue-marker, heart-breaker
and I am so faithful
and he’s so invisible
I don’t even have to
declare him not even
to customs officials
because I have read the
crucial information
on the reverse side of
this form and I have made
a truthful declaration.
In some countries
it is customary
to declare nothing—
the phrasebook said
to use the word
tengo, to use
the word nada.
The Spanish
I know is from
Sesame Street—
salida (exit).
Tonight I was
trolling the saw-
dust floor of the
worst bar in town
it was called The
Real Luck Cafe
or Earl’s. It was
called The Double
Down. It was called
The Tip-A-Few.
Total value
of declared art-
icles: nil. But
I came home at
dawn and I would
like to declare
that I am not
a visitor I am
declaring that
I came home
a resident
the primary
purpose of this
I checked the box
(a citizen)
I swear I have
made a truthful
(the primary
purpose of this
visit was) I
came home
to you.

Erika Meitner
Quisiera Declarar first appeared in Third Coast (Fall 2004).

Poem, copyright © 2004 by Erika Meitner
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2005, From the Fishouse