St. Anne De Bow-Pray on our knees
praying the prayer on the sign on each step.
The alter is a mountain of braces and crutches
thrown away by the healed people.
Daddy lets us stop at the restaurant.
I ask Mommy if they have French food.
Green cheese? The waitress asks.
The big hotel room is all fringes
patterns, textures, carved tables and chairs.
The chambermaid picks up my Tiny Tears doll.
She wears a uniform like in the movies
and asks me questions in French.
I understand exactly what she is saying, but
I’m not sure how to answer.
I look at my mother who smiles and says go on. . .
On our way out of town Dad stops for gas;
one giant, squeaky balloon, free, with a fill-up.
Mommy, can you tell me what to say:
The balloon shrivels before the next bathroom stop.