Academic journal article TriQuarterly

Mango, Number 61

Academic journal article TriQuarterly

Mango, Number 61

Article excerpt

Pescado grande was number 14, while pescado chico was number 12; dinero, money, was number 10. This was la charada, the sacred and obsessive numerology my abuela used to predict lottery numbers or winning trifectas at the dog track. The grocery stores and pawn shops on Flagler street handed out complementary wallet-size cards printed with the entire charada, numbers 1 through 100: number 70 was coco, number 89 was melon and number 61 was mango. Mango was Mrs. Pike, the last americana on the block with the best mango tree in the neighborhood. Mama would coerce her in granting us picking rights - after all, los americanos don't eat mango, she'd reason. Mango was fruit wrapped in brown paper bags, hidden like ripening secrets in the kitchen oven. Mango was the perfect house warming gift and a marmalade dessert with thick slices of cream cheese at birthday dinners and Thanksgiving. Mangos, watching like amber cat's eyes; mangos, perfectly still in their speckled maroon shells like giant unhatched eggs. Number 48 was cucaracha, number 36 was bodega and mango was my uncle's bodega, where everyone spoke only loud Spanish, the precious gold fruit towering in tres-por-un-peso pyramids. Mango was mango shakes made with milk, sugar and a pinch of salt - my grandfather's treat at the 8th street market after baseball practice. …

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