Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Mother’s Relatives

I can remember visiting my dad’s family every weekend
but my mother’s family was more of a mystery.

There was Aunt Josie, of course, we saw her during the week,
and on occasion we visited Aunt Margaret in Arizona

and even a few times we traveled to Quemado
to see her father, who abandoned her after her mother’s death.

He seemed nice enough, a small man with green eyes
and white teeth, always smiling,
now living with his second family.

Uncle Antonio, raised my mother after her father left.
and all I recall is a short fat man who lived
with his short fat wife and an even fatter sister-in-law.

They sat in a dark, foul smelling house
and as kids, we always came inside to say hello,
then ran out to the sunshine.

We were eager to take a breath away from the man
who beat my mother when she was a teenager.

I wondered why she bothered to visit him
and why did she bring us along?

I remember when we got word of his passing,
we were in California at the time.

I was surprised when she cried
and asked her if she was sad.

“No," she said, "I’m glad he is finally gone.”

We never spoke about him again after that.

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