aaron a. abeyta

i have this dream
and always there are footprints
which begin at the window
not the door as they should

i see that door now
and remember it as green
the clothesline always looming
to my right
in the rain
just east of the green door

do you remember
the rain abuelita
it was five years old
with a voice not much louder than mine

voices are important
they call us to church
away from the window
our footprints leading away

abuelita you may have guessed
i am having a hard time knowing where to begin
this problem of finding centers
consider this a collage
memories which have not yet
lined themselves

you smash aspirin
in a spoon
you offer it
and this is love

years after you had gone
i began to grow

the following are a collection of the only words i can ever remember saying to my abuelita

fria me un huevo
el aaron gramma soy el aaron

thirteen years since your death
i cannot speak to you

my mother
stills smashes aspirin for me

we were famous
the way we smoked salems
together in the sala
my small fingers turning brown
then happy with the 89 cents
and what seemed like a long walk
to buy another pack

i believed we were famous
because we only spoke in spanish

words she invented

chi hi hitchhike
grand johnson - grand junction
credit junior - credit union
paul a bentry - port of entry

your old house is blue now
they have taken away the green door
demolished the adobe shed
where i played
and all that remains is the window
where the dream always begins

i say they
because i do not know who lives there now

are you proud of me
what i have become
the man who cannot leave
the home where you no longer live

we will return
Michele and i
to be married in spanish
and name our first daughter

in heaven i am sure you know
how it was that i began to love her
but i must write it for myself
a thank you of sorts

her mother had wrapped her hair in garas
so the curls would stay
so that when we danced that night
the garas long since untied
i would smell their warmth
as she laid her head upon my shoulder

i never asked where they got the garas
where their hands came upon them
and began to tear them into thin strips
but i know they were taken from a quilt

the pink strips
had in my youth been elephants
blue strips
from the base where everything rested
the white
from within the original
color of the quilt
you made for me
when i was five

up there in heaven
have you seen her hair grow
the way it falls over her back
absorbing the sun
the way it takes in
two of my fingers
as i trace them down her neck

she takes too long curling her hair
and this is one of the things i love

this dream i keep opening and closing
leads me to ortiz
the green fields
and red willows which never leave

i come to the edge of your bed
and my cousins are taking pictures
of your last birthday on earth
your position is fetal
and my voice is no longer recognizable
el aaron gramma
soy el aaron

i hold the picture at a distance
and all i can see is the orange
of the nursing home blanket
a glaring orange which is thinner than skin

i am young enough to still love glue
so i build with glitter and construction paper
tearing strips
glueing them to the
white base of paper
when i finish i have spelled it correctly
happy birthday

a single pink elephant
rests in the lower corner

i am famous
cousins and aunts congratulate me
there are pictures of me
to prove it

there are pictures which prove everything
that you lived
held me close
the picture i save

months later
january 11th
i wake during the night
to a ringing phone
my mother saying o.k.
three times
and then we are packing

we do not drive quickly
we do not go to meet the others
at your orange bed
they have taken you from there

why does everyone keep saying
she won't have to suffer anymore

since that day i have considered this poem
and now as i am writing it i begin to cry

Michele tells me that we are
who we are by the age of five
that our lives are from that point on
stitched together
by some pattern we unconsciously follow
she looks at me as though i am the perfect quilt
so i hold her hand
squeeze it tightly
imagining the warm smell of her hair

before you died
they wrapped your feet in a white sabana
filled with dirt

you were born in ortiz
that place in the dream i keep opening
that is where they got the dirt
my uncle speaks of it as being necessary
so that you could die peacefully

the word for me is tierra
the direct translation of which
is dirt
but i prefer to think of it as earth
in some ways even as
my abuelita

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©Copyright aaron a. abeyta