My mother's letters to my father.
by Chloe Pancho
I. December 6th, 2004
I remember the night,
You, rubbing the hoof of my foot
Our new-born, sucking on my right bosom
The three of us are laying on the mattress
That I grew up on, as you tell me that
I deserve more.
You offered to swim across the ocean
In which you described the States
As a gold mine waiting to be quarried
With your hands itching to become dirtied.
I hope your hands are a black as night, my darling.
II. June 24th, 2006
The week before you left
I witnessed you
Hatch down a dozen mango trees
With the universes dullest of blades
In your calloused hands
Scaling a school of fish large enough
To feed the size of our village
The week before that.
You had saved me one fish that day
Grazed upon its scaley stomach, the sweet blade
Delicately twisting into the creatures soul,
One by one, you scooped out
its innards followed by its gills
And though it was tiny and though it was grotesque
With the same hard hands,
You offered me its heart
“From me, to you” you said.
I keep that fishes heart in the pocket
Of my cheek, so I will always remember
What your affection tasted like.
III. May 31st, 2008
When I have trouble sleeping at night
I imagine you
Still crouching at the end of my bed
Counting the ribs of our baby,
Smiling up at me as you say that
She still has twelve. A perfect set.
I count the ribs on the left side
Of her chest when she is asleep.
I can only bare to count up to
The number six.
IV. May 11th, 2009
Today marks another year
We have been together, yet apart
You send me a letter as a gift—
Inside are two plane tickets.
V. August 22nd, 2009
The world has finally given us permission
And my heart cannot wait to see you on
The other side of these large yellow and white wings
I promised to introduce you once again
To our daughter, who has reached her fifth year of life
To show you that not only has our Love remained
We are the perfect set,
The whole fish.