May 23, 2008
I have replaced you so many times
In my mind, changed your age and face.
Today I imagined you five years old, wearing
one of my shirts that fell all the way down
to your knees. We watched TV for a while and
when a dog was shot in a movie you asked
“Is that puppy sleeping?” And I said, “Yes, for his own good.”
At nights I would tuck you in beside me,
watching you sleep softly still, until
I realized that whenever I stand still
the landscape stretches and reveals new things—
mountains, previously dots on the horizon,
loom and threaten to crush or force me to run;
and so I run in the other direction
forgetting, keeping the memories in the dark
closet, where the cat, Milky, liked to sleep.
Later, I asked you not to go near her as she had
Just given birth on my newly washed towels.
Later we found that the kittens were stillborn,
flesh stuck together, like a foreboding feeling
that couldn't be shaken off, only buried,
in a shoe box grave under a willow in the yard. Though
Milky came every night to look for them in the closet anyway.
During fiestas you would speak to me as a pig would speak
before it was slaughtered. Your voice drowning the
busy chatter of relatives and friends preparing meals,
skinning sausages with sharp kitchen knives, slicing
fetal curves of garlic, crushing them into pepper, and I -
would choke on a throat full of water
and watch you trickle on the metal basin
full of raw dinuguan.*
*dinuguan - "pork blood stew" or "chocolate meat" or "chocolate pudding" in English, is a Filipino savory stew of blood sausage and offal simmered in a rich, spicy gravy of pig blood, garlic, chili and vinegar.(from wikipedia)