portero & a morning en la casa de mi abuelo
by Cynthia Guardado
II. A Morning en la Casa de Mi Abuelo
for my mother
My mother cleans her father’s toilet,
in her hand a stale brush
scrubs the concrete floor
of his wash room. Tomorrow
he’ll tell her she will not inherit
this house or the land around it.
Tomorrow it will be her birthday;
he’ll say he has to think
of his sons before his daughters.
They are an afterthought the same
as his wife who always waited
like Hera, pomegranate in hand.
for Alejandro Salguero
We scale up the hill through next year’s
milpa and the only things buzzing are
the flies. I imagine the sharp sound
of machinery, hear the squeal of a lever
echo, from the fumigation tank my cousin
carries on his back. I am a tourist here;
I trail his soft footprints, mimic where
his steps fall, want to know how I
should tread. He disinfects the harvest
and asks if I know who Karl Marx is.
The sweat on our backs is still like the stream
in the creek below, a path drawn through
the earth. He hauls water on his shoulder
in a cantaro. Its round belly pushing into
the base of his neck. We talk about imperialism.
He tells me his dreams: papaya fields and pinos
in rows on the curve of this loma.
I tell him at the root of everything is
colonialism. And he says, if I had choice,
Estados Unidos o El Salvador, I’d pick this life
again. How did we get to the top so fast?
A land mass floats in the sky and I ask
what it is. He laughs in Spanish and tells me
it’s a mountain peaking through the clouds.
contributor 2014 first edition
Cynthia Guardado is a Salvadorian-American poet. Her poetry has been published in The Acentos Review, The Packinghouse Review, PALABRA: A Magazine of Chicano and Literary Art, Crate Literary Magazine, and The Normal School. She was the winner of the Andres Montoya Memorial Scholarship in 2010 and 2011, and was selected as the CSU Fresno English Department’s 2012 Outstanding Thesis. She also translated and transcribed The Madrid Conversations, which was published my New Orleans Press in 2013.