How far back can you remember? you ask. Two: carried
in arms, tank top and diapers, being taken to a shop for my first
pair of shoes. Oaky smell of tanned leather, shopgirls’ cooing sounds.
Thin strap of Mary Janes stuck to the tops of my feet. A year or so
later, vague memory of you laying a blanket across two clotheslines,
makeshift tent near chayote vines on one side of the yard. There we sat
for who knows how many mornings after the ambulance took your friend’s
body away, after detectives were done with their questions, after my father
calmed your hysterics. While he was at work, you shelled beans or cut
vegetables on a chopping board, the kitchen sink steps from the open
back door. I drowsed in the shade, chewed on the ear of a cloth toy,
watched crayons roll over their margin of paper and into the dirt.
A curtain edge lifting seemed small, and also momentous. Wood frames
around window glass, where clouds traced themselves in passing.