Manzano Mountain Review is an online New Mexico literary journal affiliated with UNM-Valencia.

Advice from a Five Year Old

by Michelle Wing

Audra asks my dog’s middle name.
I say it’s Super Star. She says,
“What’s her last name?”
I say it’s Wing, like me.
She spins twice on one sneakered toe,
says she likes my wedding ring.
She asks, “What’s her name?”
a chin nod towards the woman last
at my side. “That’s Sabrina, my wife.
But our last names are not the same.”
She twists one long strand of hair.
“Are you a boy?” I say no.
“Is she a boy?” I say no again.
Her face pulls into a puzzle.
“Then how can she be your wife?”
I say a girl can marry a girl.
Her shoulders reach to her ears,
eyes wide. “That’s crazy!”
I say, “A girl can marry a girl,
or a boy can marry a boy.”
She rocks, heel to toe, heel
to toe. She says, “My dad
said I have to marry a boy.”
I shrug, say, “It’s up to you.
Boy or girl.” She twists the fabric
of her t-shirt at the belly, thinking,
then announces she is hungry,
makes her way to the buffet table.
Audra returns with a plate of cut-up
pears, apples, peaches, sits down
again at my side. She says,
“Your wife helped me.” I lift my
hat to rub my head. She drops her
fork. “You don’t have any hair!”
I tell her I shaved it off. “Does your
wife have hair?” Yes, yes she does,
I say. It’s just short, under her cap.
She says, “I want to keep mine.”
That’s fine, I say. It looks nice.
She finishes her fruit, then turns,
brows knit tight. “I don’t think
you should shave your dog.”

Michelle Wing is a Southern New Mexico poet and writer of creative nonfiction. She is the author of Body on the Wall: Poems and editor of Cry of the Nightbird: Writers Against Domestic Violence. She is assisted in all her endeavors by her service dog, Rocky.