Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Three of Us

by Sergio A. Ortiz

She is a paralytic relapse,
a succession of fixed images
completes her figure.
I am surprised I can’t remember
how quickly she walked with her crutches
among the magnolias, showing off
the doll smile polite children
carefully rehearse to use on special occasions.
My memory of her is set like a picture
from my photo album, flat; my aunt
wearing furs and white gloves
on Hollywood Beach in Chicago.

I remember her sitting by the lifeguard
weeping, or pretending to weep
so he would approach. She’d give him
miniature cacti in bloom
from the garden of the evils of Venus.
She never asked what he was reading,
but when she’d look into his eyes
I could see her going through the pages.
She’d soak in every one of the images, poked
the ones that were sad

and laughed wanting to give them a new
perspective. Then she’d lick the steel
legs of the park bench and hide under it
imitating poodles and canaries.
Didn’t mean anything to me.

I also remember her alone
on Ariel, Uranus’s moon.
My eyes alternating between the book
and her long-shiny-black-hair.

She-he-I was always different,
it depended on the lifeguard.

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