When My Father Was Young

He sent lit firecrackers floating on small wooden rafts down the irrigation ditches running under the outhouses. He and his brother Soko would listen for the BANG that shook the termite-eaten boards almost to the ground, then laugh until their sides hurt as the red-faced victim, caught with his pants down, ran fuming back to the sugar cane fields. From the small, brown women in wide-brimmed hats, bent over their buckets, scrubbing rich rust-colored soil out of faded clothes, they stole heavy washboards and stunned the frogs, bloated with flies and heat, sunning themselves in the shallows. Then chopped their heads off and cooked them for dinner. The fields stretched out for miles against the green-ridged mountains and the humidity crawled down their skin like a languorous eel. The sun, captured by the hero Maui with a flaxen rope, twisted and glittered in its sky cage.

Copyright Carrie Myers, 2014. Originally published in “Sacred Spaces: Works in Progress,” June 21-July 25, 2014. The Walls-Ortiz Gallery and Center.

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