How to Be Happy
Consider this: buy a straw hat (maybe two), toss a bag over your shoulder,
and walk west where dusk settles on mountains that become line drawings.
Move to Montana where sweat beams multiply as hands massage tomato
seeds into the dirt. Gently push the hair from your face. Consider
a ponytail and walk west where dusk settles between mountainous spaces.
Charm the horses with your mundane banter and sing! Out of tune. Knee
deep in dirt, gently push the hair from your face. Consider a change and
step out of your boots; you’re home. Open your own sweet tea shop.
Name it Yours and charm the horses with stories of Chicago. Knead bread
for the first time and read El Alquimista. Accept that happiness comes in
moments. Step into your boots; start again! Walk to Yours before day
breaks. Appreciate the crickets’ new song. Consider seeing them live.
Let momma know you’re not coming back unless west winds stop soothing
you. Walk to Montana where sweat beams glide onto the tomatoes. Name
all the strays and let the horses charm you. Learn that happiness is the consideration
of a straw hat (maybe two), a bag over your shoulder, and Montana in the distance.
Talking about an alternate universe while having sex
between erect pinto beans
is your mole is
a cosmic patch lapped over
Michoacán sun & a different name
Mothering the hair on your legs plucking your head
Yes you can
here & you can land on your hands
trail fingers through hair swimming incinerated by prayer
out your lips
Laps around your grandmother
& she doesn’t ask about
soft skin atop
your head Inside this
the curl I fingered on the corner
of your lips
before pruning again
Soft skin burns sand
somewhere in Michoacán
After Ada Limon’s “State Bird”
Confession: I did want to live here, far enough,
among the apple blossoms, Northern Cardinals,
the co-op, even among snow that oppresses skin,
on top of hills with no vacancy signs, inside of her,
his, their dead grandmother’s sweater that I can’t afford.
I wanted the patches of white haphazardly placed
above me, a list of reasons to keep doors closed,
without weights on my legs, no guilt, just trips—
I wanted the bruised apple to be the only one.
I denied this new land. But I’ll concede this:
whatever state you are, I won’t be that state’s bird.
The loud, obvious blur lingers—it is almost deafening
how fingers curl around the doorknob, ready for flight.
Lisandra Perez (they/she) is a queer poet born in Mexico. They currently live in Marquette, Michigan, where they read for Passages North. Their work has been published in The Quaker. In the Upper Peninsula, they are working alongside other artists and writers to create Pato Poesía, a small arts collective. Lisandra is interested in dismantling systems of oppression through writing and activism. They wear Crocs often and enjoy the pastime of vacuuming. Find them on twitter @perezlisandra_.