I Don’t Want To Speak of “Don Chepe”
after my aunt
He has chased all of us up the street to the market waving his machete.
Of my two sisters, the eldest never returned, he caught her with a man,
not her husband, and cut a dahlia on her dress. The youngest hid
in the banana groves, she’d told him she was pregnant. We inherited
our jaw-line from his father—murdered by another woman’s husband
at the cantina. Typical. When he’s calm, he rakes mounds of leaves
and trash, rolls and lights newspaper, watches flames almost choke
the lowest almond branches. I know he thinks of his wife, his two sons,
the ones before us, and why they left him. He speaks of them
only when he tells me to play Javier Solis records, drunk. If I split a leaf
with my nail, I smell embers erase yesterday’s headlines: The Oro Bridge
bombed by guerrillas. Between the lit mounds, I see my sisters
waiting to throw water, to hear ashes: curl, sizzle, smoke.