Sunday, July 16, 2006
Years ago I moved to a place of suffering looking for those I love who live elsewhere.
One chance glance of a forgotten photo in my hallway last week triggered an incomplete funeral inside. I stopped the tears to get proper for work. Throat stung like swallowing bruises.
I remember buying the ceramic frame at some pre-Riots dollar store in L.A. and pretty-ing it up with puffy glitter paints before mailing it off with snapshot of us in Irapuato inside the heart-shaped window.
This February, relatives urged me to take the framed photo with me. I hesitated—felt like stealing. Stealing what no longer existed in the home. Stealing dust and expired shelf life, stealing lost time in the fifteen years that passed while the same guy pushed the same cart afternoons on a street in Northern Cali. Bells ringing. Chunks of mangos in paletas, chunks of sweet icy dying in the home that always felt transitory, the fruit trees more permanent, the night train always shocking deep sleep, to ignore is to survive, to acknowledge to live, the love she had for too many people in the Nescafé, a whole country stirred by a spoon, she pledged allegiance a great many years later, hesitant yet to renounce faith in her memories. For nearly a century, her body an immigrant home. I loved her hands and arms.
That morning, I still expected her to rise when her children stood like testimonies beside her.
And later, the cows on the hillside kept their heads down in extinct (sic). Morning grass welcome, moisture welcome after decades of desert. One daughter’s bones 35 years and a few feet beneath hers.
I felt the busy streets beyond and knew it was only a city.