Abuelita’s mother died when she was one.
No one talks about Tatarabuela
or about how Abuelita draws her eyebrows on at dawn.
I saw them once
when I pretended to snore.
Abuelita’s name should be Rocío
because she wakes at 5 to water plants.
My aunts say her name means truth
in some language no one speaks.
Abuelo says Abuelita burned the beans
otra vez. Chepito the Fourth dreams of tortillas
when Abuelo swings on the hammock. Abuelita,
¿pero why you don’t have eyebrows?
Sometimes Abuelita dries her bras on rose bushes.
Doña Ávalos thinks she grows the best roses,
so when they walk to the market
their baskets bounce on opposite sides.
Abuelo cuts our parakeets’ wings and teaches them to speak.
I forgot to feed Chepito the Third for a week.
I said the cat ate Chepito the Second
and when he became dough below my feet
I buried the first Chepito.
Abuelo dips our moons in vodka. Truth is,
before I drowned Chepito the Fourth, I asked him
if he remembered the eggshell
he broke. Abuelita, ¿will you forget
the veins on the back of Abuelo’s hands?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Javier Zamora was born in La Herradura, El Salvador. At the age of nine he migrated to the United States. Zamora received a Bread Loaf scholarship and a fellowships from CantoMundo, Colgate University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Narrative, Ploughshares, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere.