When coffee first arrived in Europe,
It was referred to as “Arabian wine.”
In turn-of-the-century San Francisco,
The Bank of America began as the Bank of Italy.
When Cortés arrived at Tenochtitlán on November 8, 1519,
Moctezuma II greeted him warmly, and kissed his hand.
All of that. We are amazed by the smallest of things
Coming before us, the facts that seem so strange to us now
As we live in their opposite rooms.
In 1935, reports say, when Isaac Bashevis Singer
Arrived in New York, he was thirty years old
And could speak only three words in English:
“Take a chair.”
But then he learned other words. It helped.
From Not Go Away is My Name by Alberto Ríos. Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Copper Canyon Press.