She and I on a bench eating prawns: the first day of her fiftieth year and she points at two street performers about to juggle fire, and a distant summer morning surfaces, afloat on the light wind blowing off the bay—older sisters in the dark, hiding as big brother parades around the house his hands outstretched clutching large candles I'm on a search! he shouts, marching from room to room till he finds them huddling in a jungle of clothes, beacons flickering as flame- hot wax begins to flow across his fingers... while she is walking to Centro Adulto, her head brimming with phrases: the words she needs so she can quit sewing, land a job in a bank; and the sitter arriving minutes late, finding us wet and trying to save a coat, a shirt, a dress—it's a small one: nothing the green hose and frantic assembly-line of buckets doesn’t eventually douse, leaving walls and curtains the color of coal—¡Mira! she gasps her left hand rapping my shoulder, still pointing with the right as the torches, from one juggler to the other, begin to fly for my mother (1932-1997)
Two hours between classes.
The short Metro ride home.
Coffee table, plates, glasses,
the TV flickering afternoon
news, sometimes a car bomb…
And in the kitchen the singular tune
of his voice, his jokes, recounting this
or that—plot of a novel, book
he’s put down, I bought for his
monthly fix (how he’d love
reading in the park what I took
half an hour to choose). Above
all, the sofa: digestion a nap,
my head nestled in his lap.
Hora del almuerzo
Dos horas entre clases.
El viaje breve en Metro a casa.
Mesa de salón, platos, vasos,
la tele luciendo noticias
de tarde, a veces un coche-bomba…
Y en la cocina el tono único
de su voz, sus chistes, contando esto
y aquello—argumento de novela, libro
que ha dejado, que le compré:
sus dosis mensual (cómo le encantaba
leer en el parque lo que tardé
madia hora en escoger). Sobre
todo, el sofá: la digestión una siesta,
mi cabeza recostada en su regazo