People have come, and some have gone
Many leaving memories like
Old grandma hands, tortillas on the comal
My hands learning not to burn
Then scooping up hot
Creamy white jocoque in my youth.
Memories of a grandfather
Patient and present
The varicose veins
He said were from snake bites
Then winked my shock away.
I remember his swift walk
His hands ready to get dirty
Raising sunflowers as big as your head
Beautiful enough to find their way
Into a Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
My abuelito, how I treasure the nurturing
The loving of a protective soul.
You saw me, we lived together
With tios and tias in a little Mexico town
Alone now, everyone leaving.
Long ago this was the place
I swung back and forth on a gate
Me not yet three, yet full of knowing
My aunt warning me I could get in trouble
But my little voice responding sure
“Mucho me quieren!”
(“Not likely – I’m so loved ”).
Those were the days and at times
I didn’t know what to make
Of some strange happenings
Like lying on a hard kitchen table
Enema water coursing through me
I scream-crying, my body out of control
My abuelitos set on curing my empacho
That tricky stomach glitch needing this.
And then after many years
Now not in Mexico, now here
With my other family, my real mom,
My dad, and my brothers and sisters.
How my abuelitos tried to transfer me back
to this other family, pleading be careful, slow.
But no, from one day to the next
it was warm here, then cold there
comfort and softness, then harsh reality.
So confusing, those years adjusting
To the loss of my elder guardians,
My angels in disguise.
Til finally one day my abuelita passed away
I was five, skipping past death’s tears.
And later, much later, me in my teens
Heard the news that my abuelito had died
His heart gave out, tired of pumping love.
I remember him still.
One of my many treasures.