Derecho, Sp., adverb: straight ahead or in a straight line
Near the end of his life, incontinence had become a problem for my father. Out
with the driver one day, he gripped the seat back and rasped, Derecho, derecho!
What he meant was, Drive back home, straightaway— and our driver had the delicadeza
to turn around, never once making a comment on fluids he passed: no stays, derecho.
Early on, in Geometry, that’s what we’re taught: the shortest distance between two
points is a straight line: chalked stripes, taut strings of floss: derecho.
Do you know the tailor’s trick of a string wrapped around your wrist? Doubled twice,
it gives you the circumference of the neck. Plumb line in the body’s grasp, derecho.
In the trees, some raucous wrens engage in a kind of relay: touching bills,
passing a winged morsel. How will they share such a small repast, derecho?
At the clinic, a woman flings a chart to the floor and sobs. The doctor interjects,
but Don’t beat around the bush; give it to me straight, she gasps: derecho.
All along the southern corridor, people are picking up debris from the storm. A dark
roll of violent wind, they recount. Hail. Hundred year old oaks tossed by the derecho.
We cleaned him up, hosed down the seats in the car. I coaxed socks over his ankles.
All doors open to the wind, the body’s hinges unloosed at the very last: derecho.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.