National Poetry Month 2021

She’d put a stick in the ground so that she’d know when lunch approached. They’d have the same thing everyday, no luxuries except for the open field and all the birds. It wasn’t much to look at, but it’d do. Still, sometimes she wanted some charred steak and onions, maybe some warm broth with vegetables. But it’d do. Everything was fine.

She knew  that there were planes that looked like disks and that they’d follow her sometimes on her way home. Her daughter saw them too, and after a while, they’d stopped talking about it. 

At home, they’d wait till the oldest daughter got home so that they can feed the rest. 

All the little ones were so hungry that they’d drink water with sugar to satisfy their sweet tooth. They’d put lemon on tortillas and savor the hot rice and beans.

Once night came and all the little ones were in bed, great nana would sit outside in the hot wind and smoke her cigar. She’d look up at the sky, and if the clouds had long passed, a hovering light looked down on her. 

I’m not sure if that’s all true. But that’s what mom said she’d tell her, and great nana was not a liar. 

Mom said she saw it in the open field too. A giant round disk burning the green grass brown. The grass never grew back, and she figured it happened everywhere the sun shone, so she really never questioned it. 

But when she moved to America, and she had had three children of her own, she realized that she had brought it with her across borders. 

She was photographed for the Americans. She was a pretty thing when she was young. I bet they thought she tasted like mangoes, that she carried the fruit of her country right between her legs. 

When she found a man, he was no good, so she cut her hair and crossed the border. That’s when she met dad and then of course, I came along. They married a day before I was born, because they didn’t want a by-blow daughter.

The first picture of me was one where I was still inside her belly. She glowed in her blue gown, signing her marriage license in her pretty handwriting. My dad looked down on her proudly, cause he owned her now. 

When we fled, we didn’t leave at night like bandits, we left in February in the afternoon. The plane left, that’s all that I can remember. That and the pretty lights of Los Angeles.

Once here, things quieted for a bit. 

We saw nothing. Something was hiding, waiting for me. Waiting till I could more or less make more sense of it all. Heavy souls slept with me. I could feel them watching me come winter.