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Tina Cane

Tina Cane

Tina Cane is the founder/director of Writers-in-the-Schools, Rhode Island and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Rhode Island, where she lives with her husband and three children. She is the author of The Fifth Thought, Once More with Feeling and Dear Elena: Letters for Elena Ferrante. She also co-produces the podcast Poetry Dose. In 2016, Tina received the Poetry Merit Award from Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.

Beauty Mark


I am standing in a stance of memory      

to recapture Chapultapec Park     kaleidoscope

of candies      carts of cut mangoes     a museum of gold    

down in Oaxoaca
                                 girls circled the zocalo     arm in arm    

wearing thick glossy braids     and dresses of pressed white cotton    

how the heat brought out     lovers and elders and the beauty

mark beneath my right eye     which emerged like a sun print or a sign

point on a line leading nowhere     except where I was    

which was Mexico     whose giant bugs scattered for cover

across the ceiling when I flipped on the light    

just off the night bus     stumbling with fatigue      I had fever dreams

of hands moving over me as I slept     with the lamp on    

my head under the sheets     I woke at sunrise covered in sweat    

my own salt on my brow and lip     as if from hard work    

as when two shores refuse to touch     as when lapsed love is as much    

diffidence as distance     or how the beauty of a place    

exerts discreet pain          to make its mark indelible

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