a long, long time ago in Seisimbra    by    Jacinta Camacho

a long, long time ago in Seisimbra by Jacinta Camacho

Jacinta Camacho Kaplan

May 31 (5 days ago)

to me

I miss the whirling puffs of smoke from papa’s cigar
reach the ceiling then scent his dark leather chair

I miss the yellow honeysuckle and even the mosquitoes
tracing the light while we slept, tracing constellations

I miss my grandfather’s portrait in his judicial black robe
as he frowns at criminals and children who disobey

I miss the bowls of rising, yeasty dough promising
bread so buttery and hot our mouths would water

I miss the clucks of chickens as they eat the Brussel
sprouts I never liked and forget to peck at my ankles

I miss the crispy grilled sardines we ate with our fingers
we ate the eyes the tail the skin  we smacked our lips

I miss my brothers singing “happy birthday” to me
with their made up, bawdy, off color lyrics

I miss the red tile roofs, the narrow roads, the street sweeper
who says “Bom dia” whether it is morning or night

I miss my uncle the Monsignor who forgives all sins does
not withhold a chuckle when I confess impure thoughts

I miss the big wooden kitchen table that moves in and out of
the house for weddings, funerals, picnics or emergency surgery

I miss the men young and old gathering at the tavern in late
afternoon and evenings to sing strong in their baritones and altos

I miss the aunties and mama citing babies and husbands love
and food while playing cards and drinking pots of mint tea

I also miss mama’s red lipstick from Max Factor left on her dresser
just for me to try  To wipe off and try again to find myself

I miss the mangoes so sweet and full of juice we could not stop
reaching for one more as our chins turn orange and our eyes yellow

I miss the house where six children gathered for the last meal
of the day blessed by two parents windows and several doors

And two grandparents  many cousins  aunties  uncles

friends  three dogs and one cat  a rooster and a goat


(c)   jacinta  camacho, 6.5.14