Papa, you
with your red tie
red the color of Andalusia;
your black rosary laced
between your fingers.

Papa this is not you.

The paste on your face
to makeup the bruises
from when you fell last week,
your lips sewn together,
the rosary laced between your fingers -
your eyes are open
the same light brown as mine
looking upwards to?

Papa, this is not you

Papa, I remember the pumpkin patch in your garden,
all the Halloweens you let Niña and I pick jack-o-lanterns,
the clothes you made for my dollies,
when you developed my pictures of the moon,
the paella you cooked even after your stroke,
saffron jewels of chicken, shrimp and chorizo
your insistence that Steinbeck's Cannery Row
was not your Cannery Row.

All the years I took French in school,
after my father told me I spoke like a gringo.
You told me you courted Grandma
because she was the fastest canner on the Row,
and she too was Andalusian.

Papa, your rosary is said in Spanish;
I can only mourn in English.

All your flowers are red,
red the color of Andalusia,
red the carnation of Spain.



Nicole Henares a native of the Monterey Peninsula, antique carousals and roller skating rinks, currently lives in San Francisco with two cats and one husband. Henares has published two chapbooks of poems; Lush and Duende.