by Jose B. Gonzalez
my family hanging on to El Salvador time,
summer mornings my father would strip off our
bed sheets at six O’clock, wanting to avoid
losing out on one of Ocean Beach Park’s picnic tables,
so much was right then.
I swam in slacks that had been cut unevenly into shorts. My
father’s red arms, refusing to put on any sunscreen,
challenged the sun to a duel. My mother would overheat
in the flowers of her polyester blouse. My sister would lose
a sandal in the water and limp through splinters. And my
little brother would eat sand as if it had come out of a piñata.
lost inside all the comedy of our summer tragedies,
we would take for granted the heaven of listening
to Toña La Negra’s tunes as we chewed chicken legs
and ate potato salad, gathering near the waves for the last time
before I would go off to college, my sister would
move away from home, my little brother would stop
playing hide and go seek, my father would learn
of fruits and tumors and the ocean’s currents
would creep closer and closer to my mother’s footsteps.