I stand barefoot on the stone.
Blue and brown ocean in front of me,
brown like my eyes, like my skin,
brown and blue like my latin blood
before it surfaces, before it floods
from its tunnel–a changeling, I stand.

My feet are soft like a child’s;
they are not calloused like my
young heart. I’ve lived so many
lives with it, this young heart.

These feet with their skeleton
butterfly shoes of a skater set
beside, ha, a skater that cannot run
but has gotten so far. These feet,
these shoes know the woes of an old man.

My father stands beside me by the
sand dunes, his curls like clouds.
He whispers something my old ears
cannot catch–words, slippery fish thrown out.
I wonder what it was but I need
not ask. He knows I know.

Old man knew what living without meant.
His closed hazel eyes, his little asthma
chest wrapped in a potato sack, sleeping
next to his mother. And I wonder if
the assumptions we make bear the fruit of

our fathers. Assumptions made are the
leather straps that wrap and tug us blind;
that leathery skin, our tongues
lash out from history’s hungry hunts.
I wonder if I stand here long enough,

will I make a lasting print,
a dent on this solid rock?
These were the fragments, the embers
remembered from March to September.
I look at my father and wonder,

marvel at my fractured heritage.

© Paz