The Caribbean Writer

Mexican Grandmother at the Park

Opal Palmer Adisa


her stockinet legs
rest in the sand
palms are clasped
warm between her
thighs near the knees

her four grandchildren
two boys two girls
ranging from nine to five
run in the sandy-area
kicking off shoes and socks
and throwing their jackets
on the bench

vaya a jugar

vaya a jugar
she says softly
the shoo of her hand
dismissing them

before her body
settles on the hard bench
her mind has wandered

como llegue aqui

she mouths

her eyes travel
to when she was
in her midtwenties
with four young children
pulling at her
and a fifth
swelling her stomach

cuanto que queria yo entonces

so much i wanted then
she pauses
rubs her
used-to-work hands
against her thighs
her eyes scan

and locate her grandchildren
a wave of sand clouding
her vision

she coughs
her heavy bosom heaving

time is a vulture

she spits
as she takes
the journey
that will not surrender

cuanto que quiero todavia
para mi
para mis hi jos
para mis nietos

her grandchildren
are throwing sand
at each other
one boy lays on the ground
and the others
cover him with sand
glancing over their shoulders
to assess their grandmother’s reaction

she doesn’t shout stop
so they continue
welcoming the contact
of sand on their skins

her eyes
are the ash
after the fire has cooled

las cosas deben de mejorarse

she sighs
the daughter
with whom she lives
occupies an old
beaten down house
much like the one
she and her husband
slaved for thirty years ago

the shrieks of her grandchildren
pull her eyes to the sand
basta ya
she orders
quitate la arena y
pon tus medias y zapatos

as she walks behind them
heading home
she rubs the sand
clouding her eyes

fue solamente ayer
she mumbles
solamente ayer


Copyright © Opal Palmer Adisa

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