Still-Life with Salt on Fruit

Sebastián Hasani Páramo

In those days, mi Mama me dijo

There wasn’t enough salt.

But we were grateful. Agradecemos.

En aquellos días, my Mom was enough.

We sat at the picnic tables in Duck Creek Park.

Mis tías, mis tíos, we all loved simply.

Skirt steak on the grill, tortillas on the comal.

We tended fire until the embers had enough heat,

until we could dust salt & chew fajitas &

my siblings & cousins could run rolling

down the hills of the park. Texas sweat

on the rim. Big Red in Solo cups.

Easter Sunday after mass, we’d come back here.

My brother’s birthday in August, we’d come wild

again. Enough to forget Six Flags, fighting,

the Chuck E. Cheese pizza & games. Grass stains

on jeans, our Mom said, we ruined them. Her wet

hands would scrub & scrub, detergent & clean &

clean. The same hands that could take a knife

& present her sliced cubes: the bright juicy red

of sandia. Cut & displayed for our summer treat.

A veces, we came to the backyard. In our tire

swing, we sat eating fruit. Sticky sweet fingers.

Blazing drops of sweat on our shirt. She’d bring

the watermelon, drizzled with salt & chili powder,

the night draping its curtain. What laughter.

What treasure. Mom would say eat, eat, there’s more

now & more later & we siblings would come full

& now I am staring out the yard telling my Mother,

look, I have more than enough — I can cook

what you taught me back in those days.


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