Rescue Doll

Her eyes lit up when he walked in the door.

“Papi!”

His face broke into a tired grin. His eyes met hers and she could see the love in them. He seemed to stand a little straighter, though he looked bone tired. Without a word, he held out the prize.

Her hand stretched out for it slowly, never knowing if she merited a gift, if it was truly meant for her. Sometimes she even wondered if oxygen was meant for her.

He stood there waiting for her hand to make contact with the doll. Silently, it transferred from his hand to hers. There was no need to speak. She knew he held her in a special place in his heart. And he filled hers, causing it to overflow.

The doll was naked, her hair a tangled mess. Someone’s discarded Barbie rescued from the trash on her father’s sanitation route. She knew that, but it mattered not. The doll was whole, and it was hers.

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There once was a pretty blue laptop

that sat proud and pert on my desk top

Alas, it went broke

made me wanna choke

then fling the danged thing off the rooftop

~~~

The title is how you might feel after reading this so-called poem, but this is how I’ve felt for the past two weeks while having my laptop in and out of the shop. It apparently needed major surgery, but now seems to be on the mend. Here’s hoping!

 

Forever

Why are you so far away?
you say to me
The words ring in my ears
and stir in my heart
As I am right beside you
inches away
And it touches me
to think
that’s too far away
for you

Why am I so far away?
For I desire nothing more
than your touch
I need nothing more
than your touch
There is no greater gift
you can give to me
than your touch

I want you to touch me
with your hands
with your body
with your thoughts
with your essence
with your soul

I want you to touch me
forever

A Straight Line Known as Arc

While marching on in a straight line
I searched for that which never ends
But rather upon itself it bends
Its fragrant particles leaving behind
A scent of me
A scent of you
In time forever known as past

Came to discover in my delight
That past does not always mean done
For time had reached its arc again
And back it bent to lift me up
I travel down its road once more
With my companion at my side

Our memories again unite
Engraved they are into our souls
Indelibly etched upon our hearts
Some are heavy
Some are light
Blended together, they form us

Pushing any of them aside
Would interrupt the precious fate
We so endeavored to redefine
As time resumed its forward march
In a straight line known as arc

 

Ebb and Flow

“You are so incredibly feminine. It is unbelievable.”

She is taken aback by those words and looks over at him for a moment. He is standing there looking at her in wonder.

“Isn’t every female feminine?” she says.

“No, not like you,” he responds, still looking at her.

She goes on with what she’s doing, removing her sandy shoes.  They’d just left the beach and the sound of the surf slapping on shore is audible nearby. The moon is lustrous. Walking in the surf, she’d been shocked by the chilliness of the water, expecting the Atlantic Ocean to be warmer in May.

It felt good to walk into the ocean, slipping out of her shoes just a bit from the shoreline. The waves rushed, hitting her exposed calves with what turned out to be a cold caress. She screamed at the first jolt, but soon got used to the temperature, wading farther in, letting herself be bathed by the luminous moonlight.

Stepping out of the water, she’d had trouble locating her shoes. Away from the water, the moonlight’s reflection died. It was close to pitch black out and her shoes were black, but she’d found them, caked with sand as were her feet. On sandy cushions, she’d walked to the available faucet on the cement walk.

He presses the low set faucet on with his foot and again cold water hits her lower legs and feet, washing the sand away. She taps her shoes against the low surrounding wall to shake out the sand, and then slips them on. They make their way back up the strand, cutting across the grassy lawn and zigzagging between slow moving cars.

They are out to celebrate. Before walking down to the beach, they’d sat on a bench overlooking the ocean and knocked their two plastic cups together. They’d made it; they’d raised their kids. The youngest had now achieved the magic age of 21.

She’d wanted a Superman, a strawberry daiquiri that delivered a vicious kick. It was called Superman because of its red and blue color and it was meant to be “more powerful than a locomotive” and hit you “faster than a speeding bullet.”

“What’s in it?” she asked the girl.

“Rum and grain alcohol,” was the response.

“OK, bring it,” she’d said.

He laughed as he paid for their drinks. Previous to this, they’d stopped for nachos and a strawberry Margarita. Tequila, rum and grain alcohol, yes, a celebration, indeed.

But, music and dancing was missing. After their walk on the beach, they go in search and hit the jackpot. They work their way through the thick cluster of moving bodies and make their way down to the bar of the open air club. On the bandstand, two DJs are rocking it.

Now she can work off all that alcohol. Work it off in sweat. Soon it is dripping into her eyes. She closes them, the better to feel the music. It is surreal, the beat pumps through her. Hands constrain her hips; she disengages them. She wants to be free.

Evanescence

One morning I had a waking dream
that found me lying on a floating cloud
There seemed to be nothing beneath me
nothing but contentment
I floated between today and tomorrow

I let myself be carried,
let myself be suspended
upon that billowy, evanescent cloud
With eyes closed, I basked
nestled in my cradle of tranquility

And then, I sensed him
His essence, his aura, suffused me
I opened my eyes and saw him,
standing by my feet
gazing at me with tender eyes
Eyes that emanated an ethereal light,
a light that covered me with warmth,
making my skin glow

The feeling of contentment deepened,
reaching my core and
the depth of my being
I did not breathe; I did not need to
His life force sustained me, surrounded me
I was enveloped, blanketed with nurturing love.

He climbed onto the cloud,
advancing slowly, an inch at a time
moving up to lie beside me,
his eyes locked onto mine
I lay quietly, not moving
anxious with yearning,
and yet at once feeling
incredible peace

He reached my side and
rested his head upon my breast
His arm circled my waist,
a welcomed weight
I sighed as my arms went round him
of their own accord
wanting to hold him close
for all eternity

Green Treasure

The dull roar in my lower back forces me to rise; my hands instinctively reach around and press on sore muscles. The sun beats like a golden hammer making it difficult to draw breath. My head boils under the wide-brimmed hat, but I dare not take it off. Sweat trickles along my forehead and into my eyes. I do my best to blink it away as my fingers dig deep, massaging the ache. I tip my head back, arching to relieve the pain, and the earth tilts as the broad expanse of blue disorients me.

Eyes closed, I wait, hoping for the slightest breeze, but there is none. The scorching heat envelops me, flowing down from the heavens and up from the soil beneath my feet. There is no escape. I will my skin to breathe in the heavy clothing I wear, long pants and long-sleeved shirt. They are my shield against this semblance of desert heat.

But, I am in no desert. I am in a fertile field surrounded by others. Others who are bent to their task, unyieldingly. I know I can’t stand too long. I will be noticed. The sun is directly overhead and soon they will call the break.  I can rest then, but not now, not yet.

I glance around for the foreman, not truly caring if he sees me idling. He is nowhere to be seen, probably sleeping in the comfort of the cab of his big, red cargo truck. The truck that ferries us all every dawn, standing upright in its large, enclosed bed; the truck whose undercarriage provides the precious shade during the midday break. It is parked off to the side, shimmering in the glare.

My gaze settles on the one man whose opinion does matter to me. He is unrecognizable, but I know it is him. Covered from head to toe as I am; his green khakis blend with the neat, straight rows of low foliage he is methodically moving through. Rows that seem to go on forever, the distance between them narrowing as they disappear into the horizon.

Bent forward at the waist as I should be, his hands move quickly, first to one side and then the other, and then back again. Each time his hands reach out, they immediately pull back and into the beige canvas sack at his side.  Though he has pulled far ahead of me, I can clearly see the strap of the sack digging deep into his shoulder as he leans first one way and then the other. I stare in wonder as he unceasingly works two rows at once. I know his back is screaming louder than mine, but I also know he will not complain. He will not give in to it as my teenage self does.

When the whistle blows, he’ll turn in his bagful of green treasure, and then crawl beneath the truck to eat a meager lunch and catch a nap before the whistle blows again. My mother will tend to him as she takes her own break. Later in our one-room cabin, he will solemnly eat his dinner before taking early to his bed to get what rest he can, while my younger siblings play a few feet from where he sleeps.

My eyes fill once more. Only this time, I don’t blink away the moisture as I bend and reach for another cucumber.

 

Stolen Sweetness

I don’t know where I am, but I know we are going home, albeit to a temporary one. I’m at the front of the truck bed with my father. I feel safe because I am with him and I move closer to him.

He stands as do all the other men. He keeps one arm around me to keep me steady. With the other, he grasps the front of the truck bed enclosure to keep his balance as the truck shifts and lurches down the road.

Long, narrow benches run along each side of the truck bed walls. These are reserved for the women.  There are no signs or discussion. It is understood; the women sit. Some of the children sit on their mother’s lap. The rest for whom there is no lap, sit cross-legged on the floor.

Though my mother’s lap is available, I prefer to stand with my father.  At times, he lifts me up so I can see the gray strip of road as it flies by underneath the cab of the truck.

It is evening, but still light out. We are passing beneath some trees. Looking up, I notice there is something hanging from the branches.

“Papi, what is that?”

“It’s fruit. Something to eat.”

“Can I have some?”

Without responding, he reaches up and wraps his hand around one. The truck’s forward motion rips the fruit off the branch. He hands it to me.

I hold it in my hands. Its delicate yellowish-green skin is translucent.

“Try it,” says my father.

I take a small, tentative bite. A shockwave of sweetness accosts my brain.  My father looks down at me with his tired smile.

I reach the fruit up to him. “Have some,” I say.

“No, Hijita,” he says. “You eat it.”

***

Though I’ve searched through many produce sections over the years, I’ve yet to find anything that tastes as sweet as that stolen pear.

Brushed With Love

The egg, fresh from the refrigerator, feels cold as it passes over my face. Instinctively, I scrunch my eyes closed and lie still, flat on my back, ramrod straight, on my little twin bed. The room feels hushed and dark. The world has fallen back, away. I hate this, but I submit; I know there is no escaping it.

My mother holds the egg in her skinny brown hand and whispers prayers as she makes the sign of the cross with it over my face, my hair, my chest, my belly and even my legs. She takes her time, doing it several times over before moving on to the next spot. It tickles as she dawdles over my ribs, but I press my lips tight to keep from laughing.

Annoyed, I wonder. Where are my bratty sisters and brother? Why aren’t they making noise, making trouble? Why aren’t they distracting her so she will leave me alone?

I can’t make out the words she is whispering; all I can hear is the susurrant voice, the S’s seemingly magnified within the darkness behind my eyelids. She is intently focused on her task. For she believes I am the victim of the evil eye. And this evil eye must be exorcised.

Once done brushing me with the egg, she gingerly breaks it into a bowl of water, careful to keep the yolk intact. This she sets beneath me on the floor. It’s to stay there overnight to draw the evil out of me, through the mattress, while I sleep.

In the morning, before I’m allowed up, she reaches under the bed for it and keenly scrutinizes its contents. Tempted, I rise up on my elbows to peek into the bowl she holds reverently in her hands. The egg appears like any other egg to me. The floating yolk, surrounded by its albumen, resembles an eye. I think that’s funny, an eye for an eye.

But, she doesn’t see any humor in it. Her face is serious as she looks into what, to her, is no longer just an egg. It has become an entity suffused with mystery, an enigma that only she can decipher.  Again she takes her time as she peers into this golden eye. And once her scrutiny is completed, she declares me cured. I am freed. Free of the malevolence someone dared lay upon me with the power of a glance. This visual curse has been successfully cast out, lifted, disarmed, rendered harmless.  It is safe for me to go out into the world once more.

I stay up on my elbows and study her face while she studies the egg. I don’t move or say anything when she tells me I can get up now. I watch her as she turns and shuffles out of the room, a woman already shorter than me. I know the never-ending chores and my rowdy younger siblings await; yet still, I lie there for a while and think: My mother loves me.