Eileen R. Tabios
I Forgot My Mothers Blood in the Sangria
I forgot the angel with rust in his voice teaching, There is no madness. There is only a woman brutishly in love.
I forgot winter becoming my veil after discovering I stayed for years in a story that was not mine.
I forgot Juana the Mad living her truthflamencos First Commandmenteven as reality snuffed the votive lights in her eyes.
I forgot joining gypsies to adore Juana specifically for her madness.
I forgot darkness was also zero.
I forgot songs compelling demon blood to boil in our veins.
I forgot the gypsy dismissal: No me dice nada. He didnt say anything to me.
I forgot his cante was an olive tree that stood since Romans ruled Spain, since Moors invaded, since ships laden with gold from the New World sailed upon River Ebron.
I forgot his cante came from him like a rusty nail slowly pulled from an old wooden board: la voz afilla, sandpaper voice.
I forgot him singing the bleak silence of stars.
I forgot him singing a shivering woman with no defense as soldiers arrived to do what they did to her and her too-young daughters.
I forgot him singing a man thrown in jail for stealing grapes to appease the ugly grunts of his starving wife and children.
I forgot him singing the whips over his ancestors as they were driven out of India.
I forgot Clementina laughing at her bruises, both then and those yet to come.
I forgot Clementina laughing at the purpling sky and her fathers brooding windows.
I forgot Clementina ladling milk over white marble, then pouring crimson pollen over gold statues living in gardens visible only to third eyes.
I forgot Clementina stuffing Rosa with candied chestnuts in brandy syrup, perfectly grilled sardines, and the most tender, marinated octopus.
I forgot glasses of aguardiente to kill what cannot really be killed.
I forgot the blood in the Sangria was my mothers.
I forgot large fists bunched on her back, hunched from reined-in wings.
I forgot the claws ending her feet.
I forgot draping black velvet over the sun.
I forgot she clawed her cheeks.
I forgot El Gitano ripped his shirt.
I forgot the killer nicknamed Bullet for his bald head and thick neck, all smooth except where puckered a scar documenting the flight of a gunshot.
I forgot Vincent Romero, sweat, marijuana, oranges, cloves and the fall of blue-black hair.
I forgot cantaores drowning in their own blood to sing one last letra.
I forgot green mornings pulsing with the ferocious flowers of red hearts.
I forgot Carmen Amaya who sweated so much when she danced that aftermath meant pouring sweat out of her shoes.
I forgot stepping into a story I falsely thought belonged to me.
I forgot my summer with Lorca: So much to desire! So much desire!
I forgot flamencos Third Commandment: never reveal the rest to outsiders.
I forgot flamencos Second Commandment: do it in time, en compas(s)!
I forgot flamencos First of Ten Commandments: Dame la verdad, Tell the Truth!
I forgot the pulse of waves echoing heelstwo dozen pounding on wood floors, pulsing to a flamenco beat.
I forgot the waves rolling away from Asia to storm even the Americas.