• GROWING AWAY

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    “We grow old, and we go away.” – From a Note to Author Elmer A. Ordonez

    It is the room we dread to open
    when we go back home because
    we have to. “You can bunk in here,
    nothing has changed, you sleep
    well in familiar places, don’t you?”

    Except that this room is too full
    of everything I might have been
    running away from: “you will be
    back for the summer holidays,
    won’t you? Mom would like that.”

    I did not catch the train back,
    nor did I try that summer when
    father said he was ill: “come home
    as quickly as classes end, your
    father would like that. Come home.”

    It has been some time since I last
    dusted off the cobwebs and dirt
    from the sill and the pictures
    in this room. I stare at them longer
    now praying they would talk back:

    “You’ve come home at last. Stay,
    stay longer, we would like that.
    There’s catfish to hook at the river
    a stone’s throw from home. There’s
    black berries to gather for wine.”

    They stare back at my wan face
    from the confines of the ornate frame
    and the bursting memories in sepia:
    Father in white gabardine suit,
    Mother in her white traje de boda.

    I have come home, but I cannot stay.
    This room is now full. And empty.

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