Wanting memories to teach me…

Son las historias que permiten, convertir lo pasado en presente y lo distante en cercano, lo que está lejano en algo próximo, posible, visible.

-Eduardo Galeano

They say that memories are more easily retained if you don’t move around a whole lot. I don’t remember where I read this, but it makes sense. As I think back on my childhood, I don’t think I can remember anything before the age of four. I would have to double check with my father, but I think by this age we had moved to Argentina and were living in the northernmost province there—Formosa. Below, I have written a brief and rough poem about the memories that I have from this time. Some things are a bit anachronistic, but so is my memory of chronological occurrences, so that’s fine—creative license inserted et c’est tout bon !

It’s interesting to note, as well, that I recently posted on Facebook that I was trying to take life a little less seriously. As I try to make this happen I feel like I am transported back to a time period as a child that I didn’t have anything to worry about because I had my parents that were protecting me and taking care of me. Furthermore, since both my parents celebrated birthdays this month, this poem is dedicated to them. My dad’s calm and collected demeanor who likes to draw people in by telling stories, alongside my mom’s curious and creative knack for everything homemade, home-grown, and made from scratch is what I admire the most about these two. Felicidades a los dos por un año más de vida. ¡Los quiero mucho!

First memories

A bucket my dad has piled full of mangoes from the backyard tree

sits next to us as the lightning bugs start blinking faintly.

Little by little the mosquitos start buzzing around the uncovered parts of our

bodies, scantily protected by summer outfits.

The day becomes night.

Each of us,

with mangoes in hand,

suck the fruit with gusto until our sticky hands nearly make the slippery seeds

resembling “Bart Simpson’s head” slip from our grasp.

Dad doesn’t say much but when he does I feel like his words make perfect sense.

We sit out on the yard in dumpster dove lounge chairs,

newly re-upholstered with polyester fabric from La Cooperativa.

My dad turns his head in shame when my mother trash picks.

“Your mother is crazy,” he says shaking his head.

Later, I realize that, “My mother is ingenious!”

Deep down, I know he feels the same.

He sits in the chair, doesn’t he?

We play in the sandbox daily, but later the play spot is banned.

“You can’t play there until we clean it up!” My dad insists.

We realize the ringworms circling the pale undersides of our feet and the

calloused palms of our hands are the result of all the stray cats in the

neighborhood using our favorite play area as their litter box.

Antifungals, covering the pink rings every night before bed, should work, but we

are forbidden from entering the sandbox until the problem is fixed.

As an adult, I tend to be a serious person, but remembering the simple things in life

helps me to stay grounded:

Mangoes for dinner,

trash picking for furniture,

and cleaning the sandbox in order to play.


Finally, in relation to the title above, a song from a group I deeply admire:

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