Black hair like raven’s wing, the tentacles of jellyfish sweep the boards of Santa Esmeralda's salted bridge, electric, living like a torpedo flash. Your hand, Pedro, touches them, then drops down to the bloodless elbow. I drop the colander, peas roll on the deck, the gulls bend down to catch them.
The heart melts of happiness, intertwining my fingers with yours. - It’s Dona Sol I want - you say - Dona Sol is the one I like, not the daughter of Diego Fuentes.
I no longer feel the gulls and I suspect. I look down; I see the floor of my house. No boards, no rolling green and hard peas. I get out of bed.
In the mirror there’s the usual cluster of rickety brown meat, the daily agony of wrinkles, hair not a dream but a fluff that gets dirty with scales of sweat.
I thrust my yellow nails in the folds of the face, and cry with my bleary eyes, because I am sixty-four, Pedro, and you twenty-three.
Your mother brought you up the shore from the pier to the house, kicking you in the bottom, the black belly swollen from hunger, the lumpy navel, legs livid. I left you in the barn with three cakes and curries, and you stayed there until two years ago, when I saw you wash through, naked as when your mother gave birth to you, with the smooth belly and, among the legs, the flaccid but promising, stick. It was happy. It was merriest than your dark eyes, you had the look of a dog and you followed your sister Ursula, born from your mother’s marriage with Diego Fuentes, and raised early in this sun, alone, barefoot and wrapped, that even his father looks at her, when she bends to take water without panties under her skirt.
I have seen you both in the stable, between straw and dark. Pale, her loins, your buttocks black, the tidal wave that engulfed the incestuous samba ungainly, the musky smell of chaos on breasts, bones and meat of young people. I was there, perched on the door jamb.
I have remembered the homely hugs, in the dim light of siesta, when the captain, coming up the river with the Santa Esmeralda, stopped on Sunday. We smoked on the brass bed - the fan froze the moist on our backs, the smell of DDT, the dead flies in the glass on the bedside table - then we pulled the neck of a chicken for dinner.
Even the oldest of my chickens has her cock.
This morning I would lift my stiff legs and straddle over you, give you the pleasure your sister gives you. My eyes, faded by the sun, washed by the river, see you how they would have seen you twenty years ago, and the heart desires, the body gets wet.
I put the red dress with which I waited for the captain, and I tarnish the mirror with my rancid breath, so I cannot see any more, but, as in dreams, image me with slender hips, the feet of a soft bird, gentle hands of lye.
Here, I open the parasol. The moth lace crumbles like dust between my fingers, the slats are moldy, but I keep it up high, standing on my head as then, for you Pedro.
I close my eyes and, like tonight, there’s the moon, the boards creak salted on the soles of my bare feet.
Now you cannot tell me no, Pedro.