Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011
We giggle at the thought
of that peculiar snoring sound.
Suddenly, I miss home.
Sitting in your arms, I make
the same analogy. Tom & Jerry
and old cartoons with feathers
following the breathing patterns of a sleeping
You pretend that's me,
but I only talk in my sleep.
You're the one who lightly grizzles.
You're not as obnoxious as my dad, who was always
sitting on the couch or a chair back home,
snoring like a storm despite how many
folded socks I tossed at him.
I know you're missing how your dad used to snore
on long afternoons, lazily watching golf on TV.
I soothe you while you're sitting
in your chair: send my fingers
through your hair, let you morph into
a child- helpless and wanting- until you fall
asleep with your head buried
in my neck.
Then I hear the light breathy whir- the sound
of your snoring in the afternoon.
You swallow your sleeping pill and chase it with a kiss before we lie
down in the darkness, pure dark when electricity first vanishes.
I don't recognize these familiar shapes, even the shape of your body,
only small circles of light burning their piercing colors into my retinas.
I stare at the shadows dancing across the roof as streetlight
streams in through the window. It reminds me, the world is outside.
Voices bustle, murmured
past 2 A.M.
Just lying there. I think about mid-November and the way I cried
about your dad more than you did. That's how we started, or rather,
when he ended. Then I find my mind on January when we first fell apart.
I feel the weight of my limbs sinking lower
into the mattress, into the dent in the side I sleep on.
I notice the strands of my hair set loose
in the sheets (I know how that pisses you off)
and a hazy outline of my face near the wall, adjacent
to the hole that still needs repair; you need it too.
The wall never changes even when everything else does.
We're tucked into these oversized sheets
(too big for a twin bed)
like corpses in a coffin. I feel the dead
weight of your arm across my waist. Heavier, heavier.
My eyes fizzle with the light of the clock.
4:08. Yes, in the morning.
I exhale a sigh of frustration. You're like a secure barrier
keeping me tucked inside the sheets. Trying to, anyway.
I extend my arm across your back and send my fingertips exploring
the vast mountain of your shoulders where you keep the stress, bottled up.
My attempt at comfort. No sleep. Just thoughts of it.
Yeah, you took your damn pills. Your sleep comes more easily now.
But I carry your stress under my eyes. Dark circles. Dark thoughts.
Thoughts of your dead father, buried now for almost four months' time.
Carry the casket, the sorrow. Now I carry part of the blame
for your explanations as to why you run from thoughts of death.
American “hush hush.” Hispanic “lo siento.”
Alcohol and pills: Your survival guide to life.
I just want to fix you; us; this whole complicated scenario.
We're sleeping in his coffin. Sounds so fucking cliché.
7:45 AM- time to wake up.
In the middle seat
of our burnt purple shell of a minivan,
I sat watching the world flash by time and again.
With enough room in this row for two,
I often sat through the sleepless drives toward
historical destinations on summer trips to Virginia,
Washington D.C., New York City... anywhere really.
My drowsy head rolling sideways
in search of refuge on Amanda's unwilling shoulder.
The bonds of sisterly bickering
on these roadtrips were commonly animated
with a pair of Jessica's adolescent feet
dressed in doll clothing, hanging over the edge
of my retractable armrest.
The itchy patterned fabric was a close friend
- a confidant- who soaked up my tears
and the bitter taste of goodbyes.
Tears for my buried idol, Abuelo.
Tears for words too harshly spoken, sidewalk-chipped teeth,
and for raw elbows and knee-skin
freshly broken on school-ground pavement.
Even tears of laughter trailing back
from sunny daytrips to the beach, sand
buried in the scratchy grey cushions and rugs.
Peeling tint that smelt of melted plastic became a hobby,
easy entertainment on the most tedious drives through
hours of bumpers close to kissing and the thrill
of driving on the part of the road that tilts.
My childhood was in that seat, buckled in tightly
while the world sped past as fluttering shadows
across the drooped rooftop, stopping only at dead
red lights, zooming past any color green through
“orange” (as they'd say), defensive in the ever- expected
traffic of Miami at even the darkest hours, when lights
only flash yellow.
There was always the fight for the front seat,
but I'm disinterested. I want
the middlewhere I have full view of everything.
I'm almost two feet taller now, but no longer at home.
I don't have the same comfort from the hair dryer's
fiery electric drone.
I used to watch the clock dance for hours
and wish I could sleep. I'd scrunch my toes
in the cold contrast and bunch up my shoulders.
Only simple commands were called out:
“Turn. Left. Up. Down.”
When he had insisted wet hair would make me sick
I hesitantly decided, Dad knows best; Old age made him wise.
So I would stare at the bathroom tiles with a burn
behind my eyes. I knew it was an inevitable
recurring ritual, blow-drying this hefty heap.
Through the wild mess of hair
atop my head, there were but a few chances
to catch a glimpse in the mirror, peeking
through the puff.
Blood rushed to my face as I turned my head
upside-down. The tugging brought tears.
Large fingers brushed my scalp. Heat encroached
behind my ears.
But I secretly enjoyed this painful grooming
though I would never admit it then; when I was
standing a tiny bit taller than four feet.