Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

April 28, 2015

The Old Country

Filed under: Poems — dave9169 @ 9:39 pm

It is my father who taught me this language,
introduced me to this place,
and instilled in me this habit
of getting on a plane and visiting
the old country

I return for…

…the welcoming committee at the airport
the cousins, the uncles and especially the aunts
who jump up and down like teenage girls at a concert
and embrace you tightly
and don’t let you go until you’re covered in kisses

…the scenes of my childhood
eating pan amasado for breakfast
cramming into those standing room only busses
that took me to school in fifth grade
kicking the futbol across dirt fields
and into goals with no nets

…the weekend days of my adolescence
spent with my abuelo rodolfo at the estadio atletico
punching volleyballs into the sky
and hearing them thump off the red clay
slurping oyster shells for almuerzo
learning to turn snot into projectiles
one nostril blow at a time

…an evening at a sidewalk cafe
sipping drinks with rosa and her friends
before the riot police cleared the crowd
with those clinking gas cannisters that suddenly
settled and hissed around our feet
Running to the bathroom for relief
laughing while tears rolled down our faces

…the night i stayed awake till the morning
drinking cafe con leche with my favorite aunt
talking about my beautiful blue-eyed grandmother
who took us in when my father showed up
with us at her doorstep to start a new life
We reminisced on all the could have beens
had we been raised in the old country
instead of leaving after a year

It is okay though I remember telling her
when I sensed her voice weaken slightly
Without these continents to cross
we would not have these airport reunions
Without these gaps between visits
there would be no longing to know more
And without these special connections
nurtured through decades of loving repetition
there would be no real reason to
return to the old country.

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