Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Aunt Chuchita

From October 24, 2006

She smoked Salems
at the same time
she muttered Spanish,
pious, paging through
her beloved prayer books,
felty with use,
the loosened pages secured
inside with a rubber band
or two.

Devout and demented,
slowly unbraiding
her long gray hair,
keeping close track
of the bobby pins
or someone might
steal them.

And then a spew
of unintelligible
over-the-border language.
Words of love,
words of annoyance.

Green eyes,
tilted up at the edges,
magnified by laugh lines
and wire rims that clutch
her lengthening, velvet lobes.

Sturdy body
tucked into cotton dresses
buttoned down the front,
showing one hip
higher than another.

Aunt Chucita,
who wanted
to be a nun in Mexico
but snuffed that dream
to help her hermana
raise five children
in the roaring, racist 20s
of hot, sticky Houston,
long before air-conditioning.

She never missed a day of prayer
or finished one without a smoke.
Image by wonderlane


Erin Davis said...

What a beautiful portrait! It may seem strange, but I see some of my Irish grandfather here...Thanks for the recommendation of Chris Heeter's book. I will definitely check it out.

Kathleen said...

Thank you, Erin. I'm honored you stopped by my ILH blog! I'm half Mexican and half a mixture of Irish, Welsh, Cajun, and lord knows what else. I even have a sister named Erin! I LOVE your poetry. It's fantastic. I'm hope you like Chris Heeter's book. I've taken three Wild Institute trips that she's led and they were awe-inspiring.

G. Harrison said...

Hi Kathleen,

the lines below caught my ear...

"but snuffed that dream
to help her hermana..."

an image of sacrifice and snuffing (like she would a spent Salem cigarette,) rolled together - very good.

I put a few pieces of prose at a small site as well.


Please drop by when time allows.


GAH at It Strikes Me Funny