Friday, February 29, 2008

The three resuscitations of Rudolfo N. Carrillo

At first he rolled his eyes—I thought
he was looking askance at paintings
of Manolete on the wall. Then he toppled
sideways onto the floor—we were somewhere in New Mexico,
judging from the light through the windows,
judging from the stone-dry air of the house. I was there
to help his soul out. The morning I arrived,
my father was sleeping on the couch—he looked
like a child. There was nothing wild in his shape
but I could tell he was dreaming—this is the body
that carries the seed, this is the hand that harvests
the hard yellow maize and grinds it to paste.
But I was dreaming too. So in my dream my father
seemed alone in his own mischief. Against
the stucco walls of his own home he wandered
like an empty ship. This was the second
resuscitation. When I breathed deeply
into his very soul I lit a furnace briefly, a pale
glow that didn’t last. Remembering how
it was done, I began to sing—
for the third time my father awoke,
stirred by the electricity of hope he found
in my face. He told me so before he left
the room, before he slept and I left
him to his quiet doom.

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