• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 09


“papà, who are they?” asked a young and curious ricorda
“the one of the right is your nonno,” replied the father
“and the one with the funny brow?” continued the son
“he is your nonno’s fr–you are being a bad boy again”
“no papà, but it does make him look strange, vedi te?”

the last time someone called deseo strange was in 1981
“this maricón better not meet my fratello again or else,”
the angry brother bellowed amidst the family scampagnata
as the wife gasped in disbelief lingering at the very edges
as the son stood puzzled beside his half-giggling cousins

for a day that had been as bright as the summer in boston
only a sepia past that had crossed an ocean to a new home
and the spaghetti, the wine, and a kettle remembered how
deseo returned to matamoros and died of the new plague
leaving his amado heartbroken, wandering, irretrievable

“it doesn’t make him strange; it makes him him,” said father
“but who is he?” ricorda resumed after an extended pause
the father, staring at the photo on the wall, finally replied
“he was your nonno’s cariño who loved him so much that
they would sing together till the sun blushed into the night