Flying from Lisbon to Rome I sat next to one of those short, elderly ladies in black who live up to every Portuguese stereotype-- she even pulled out a rosary for takeoff-- and because she fit my expectations so perfectly, I loved her immediately. So when we were served milk for our coffees in foil-lined packets and she leaned over and placed one papery, liver-spotted hand on mine asking, Açucer? I wanted so sincerely to help that the word in Portuguese flew out of my mind. I moved my hands as if milking a cow. Ah! she brightened. Leite! Of course! Pronounced like light. She brought me to my childhood kitchen, where my own grandmother left out a glass of milk for me each day that shone so brightly in the morning sunlight that the milk reflected a halo against the wall behind it, a half-moon of fulfilled expectation, and I would stand on that tan linoleum blinking, struck dumb with happiness.
Kim Roberts Read Bio Author Discusses Poems
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