Thursday, December 6, 2012

Antonio, Antonio

I remember when I was young
visiting my mother’s Uncle Antonio.
He sat in a dark adobe house

with his second wife and her sister.
They all sat on worn-out chairs,
my mother got up to clear a space,

clean the table and fix a meal.
He licked his lips when the aroma
of chili, eggs and fresh tortillas

filtered into the living room.
The kids were served plates
to eat outside, while my mom

sat at the table with the man
who beat her, made her life miserable
with his alcoholic ways.

I wondered if she hoped he would choke
on the little pieces of meat she fried
into the chili sauce, or did she spit

on his plate, let her salty tears
flavor the dough he so gingerly tore
before he took a bite?

I always kept watch at the window
listened to the conversation
mostly the tones ‘cause I couldn’t

understand the words. Did they talk
about other things, never mentioning
the days of terror when she was a teenager
under his care?

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