Leticia Priebe Rocha
| poetry


I didn’t travel much growing up, couldn’t afford it or the demands
of state lines and TSA. On my first flight disentangled from Spirit
Airlines, I hated the first-class passengers and their absolute audacity
to dress like shit. My mother taught me that my body was all I had
so I’d better honor it with adornment. Without a doubt, my favorite
smell in the entire world is that of my own perfume. So what? That’s
what happens when a child learns that many lives must eventually
fit in the void of a suitcase. This poem wasn’t about you and now it is.
When we finally meet again in the sleet, I’ll ask: “How did you get here?”
You’ll laugh like always: “I walked. It was so stupid.” It doesn’t matter
how long we take. For half of my life I wanted to die. That’s easy to say
now. Tonight a perfect stranger gifted me, tears welling up in her eyes,
hand on my shoulder, the exact words I needed to hear ten years ago.
I know to listen: Be very good to yourself. Be very good to yourself.

Leticia Priebe Rocha earned her bachelor’s deegree from Tufts University, where she was awarded the 2020 Academy of American Poets University & College Poetry Prize. Born in São Paulo, Brazil, she immigrated to Miami at the age of nine and currently resides in the Greater Boston area. Her work appears in Rattle, Pigeon Pages, Protean Magazine, and elsewhere.

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