The Poet X

Elizabeth Acevedo

Caridad and I Shouldn’t Be Friends

We are not two sides of the same coin.

We are not ever mistaken for sisters.

We don’t look alike, don’t sound alike.

We don’t make no damn sense as friends.

I curse up a storm and am always ready to knuckle up.

Caridad recites Bible verses and promotes peace.

I’m ready to finally feel what it’s like to like a boy.

Caridad wants to wait for marriage.

I’m afraid of my mother so I listen to what she says.

Caridad genuinely respects her parents.

I should hate Caridad. She’s all my parents want in a daughter.

She’s everything I could never be.

But Caridad, Twin, and I have known each other since diapers.

We celebrate birthdays together, attended Bible

camp sleepovers with each other, spend Christmas Eve

at each other’s houses.

She knows me in ways I don’t have to explain.

Can see one of my tantrums coming a mile off,

knows when I need her to joke, or when I need to fume,

or when I need to be told about myself.

Mostly, Caridad isn’t all extra goody-goody in her judgment.

She knows all about the questions I have,

about church, and boys, and Mami.

But she don’t ever tell me I’m wrong.

She just gives me one of her looks,

full of so much charity, and tells me that she knows

I’ll figure it all out.