Frances Webb

ONLY ONE MODAL

“There’s no gender in English, Alejandro—
except for names
and their replacements,

and only one modal in English, Alejandro.
Do not write ‘can will do’.”

That’s negative teaching to tell you what not,
and I will never never never
negative teach you,
Alejandro…

Who comes in late and stands by his chair
And bows,
Who comes in late and sits in the front row
And looks at my eyes,
A Santo Domingan six foot frogman…

“Another thing.
Possessive is tricky
with the apostrophe
and that ‘s’.”

who told me of frogmen revolutionaries,
deep sea fighters…

“Your story of the Revolution doesn’t translate,
you know,
Alejandro.
So don’t
translate. Move the whole
thought
over.”

So you can graduate and get a job
With the Transit Authority
Where they have benefits, you said.

Punto 7 Review: A Journal of Marginal
Discourse, City University of New York,
Vol.3, No.1, Fall 1996.
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