Poetry and Prose from the Center for Writers
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Three Disassembled Sonnets
by RANDY GONZALES
--For Elvie who stays on renewing her visa after they're gone
In a crosswalk, flowers, blood stains,
shards of glass, reflective
marks, left shiny chocolate wraps.
In a living room, car keys, rosary,
passports-- visas stamped, leaned in pictures,
return tickets, glowing Virgin-- Mama
Mary, melted altar wax, candle flickers
in small dishes, incense burns, white smoke tails
Start with seven round fruits, one should be plums,
finish with lychee, sticky rice
in banana wraps , or finger-worn
photographs. Still life in daily spaces,
futon, two chairs, folding card table.
II. Chocolate Tita
We don't avoid her. We don't pretend
to not know. Kyle and Del know her as giving
with loss-- the tita who lost her children.
They know her stacked and bent boxes
of biscuits. They cry out from behind
baskets, slide around the counter,
Tita, tita, chocolate, tita!
Anaks, she says, and gently smears their faces.
Touch opens their hands. She holds them steady
at their wrist, counts,
drops squares into their palms.
Grins squint their eyes. Colors fall from her
fingers. Why does Tita cry?
No one knowing the faces answers.
III. Elvie Responds
I'm still here amongst the white towers
of men who wait on shuffled circles of bread,
where each dropped sesame biscuit lowers
girls in bright child dress to crosswalks, extends
their brothers' arms to a familiar pause.
I'm thick in geometries, arbiter
of wide round trays of sweets, of discrete loss,
where a date maamoul is an accident
rolled over and over in memorial.
Slips become a stain of sweetness, sworn
in negotiated tongues, flaking memory
of baklava as surface gloss,
until a daughter moves,
until she finds her stumbled feet.
--Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
Randy Gonzales is a poet who was born and raised in New Orleans, but has spent most his adult life residing in places like Fukui, Yongin, Abu Dhabi, Pohang, Calamba, Alabang, and Al Ain. He has recently returned to the United States to pursue a PhD in English at the University of Southern Mississippi. His writing touches the intersections of culture / place / identity / human relationships.