Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Rosario on Sunday Morning

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Rosario on Sunday Morning

Article excerpt

Oh no, not dreaming: clear as I hear you

now on our way to Mass, and the bells tolling,

I heard him calling in the dark last night.

Charo, he called me: I sat up in bed,

the smell of madreselvas everywhere,

heavy as the bunches he would bring

when he came courting, all those years ago.

Not dreaming, no: I never dreamed of him-

and seldom thought of him-in all those years

since I sent him away once and for all.

As for my sending him away, I said

all that I had to say then, as you know.

More is nobody's business, though there are

some in this town who may think otherwise.

He, and those honeysuckle bunches damp

from his mother's garden, week on week,

showed up on our front porch, where Mama stayedor

Sara, or Susana-just to show

that the Alvarado girls-even the ripest-

would not be left alone with any suitor.

You knew my father, how he never said

outright what he could hint at while he chewed

on a cigar. And yet he told me once,

"When there's no bread, cassava's good enough."

Yes, from the start I knew they hoped I'd take him,

worn down by his scrubbed look. He was polite,

spoke as if he'd been schooled better than most,

but after crops and prices and the weather,

not much was left to say.

And in her way,

his mother courted me with smiles and small talk,

urged me to recompense a good man 's love:

amor con amor se paga, people say.

But love you take unwanted is no gift.

And if it were, why would one need to pay?

That's all of it, whatever some may think:

no quarrel, no advances to rebuff,

no secrets to uncover, his or mine. …

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