Having a light supper of peanut butter and wild berry jam
on water table crackers while watching PBS,
a woman who wrote a book came on.
She talked about married Indian women,
her curiosity about them.

They were private, at first, she said.
It took time to gain trust
and signed consents,
everything on the up and up, you understand.
How bloody “Margaret Mead” of her,
how “Jane Goodall,” I thought,
going over to make tea, draw blinds,
bring in the dogs for the night.

After all, I mused, if her subjects—
multilingual, educated, well-traveled—
wished for strangers to know
whether they watched porn,
places where they made love,
how they interacted with in-laws
and reared children,
they’d write their own accounts.

Instead, perhaps sometime
they’d document
the impudent guest
who came to town
for the sole purpose
of blabbing about all that went on
behind closed doors.


From My Book of the Dead, copyright © 2021 Ana Castillo, published by University of New Mexico Press, 2021.