In the sing-song voice of a Latin-American child, with the repetition and rhythm of a nursery rhyme, the poem tells of "my brother/who spins his eyes" and the child-narrator's awareness of the shame the parents feel about having a mentally retarded son. The poem superbly captures traits of mental retardation, and the sibling child's awareness of its impact on the family.


Sandra Cisneros grew up in Chicago, the child of working class Mexican-American parents. Her poem stands on its own but is also interesting to use in a discussion of cultural diversity, together with poems written by authors representing other ethnic groups, such as Li-Young Lee (Asian-American, see this database), Lucille Clifton (African-American, see this database), Linda Hogan (Native-American, see this database).

Primary Source

My Wicked Wicked Ways


Third Woman

Place Published