Trying to Remember

I’m trying to remember

how four generations fit under one roof
ages three to seventy-three and you,
my mother, just a few years younger
than the great grandmother
and me, unmarried at thirty-three
—another anomaly

squeezing lime on chicharron
all the men who helped you off the bus
and the difference between what I imagined
and what actually happened
including the wooden tram that fought the wind
all the way to the mouth of the sea

and the rush of feet, hips in skirts
dinners down the middle of the street
how we divided and merged like a shoal
caught between the oldest parts of town
chasing fireworks—being chased by them
trying to catch up but always a bit behind

I wouldn’t mind forgetting, however,
the look that boy gave me as he fucked
his girlfriend in the bed next to mine
—couldn’t believe
you slept right through it—
and also the sandfleas and sunburns

but I’ll always remember the bowl of fruit
in the café with the black-and-white artichokes
framed against a city ripe with color
all the high-fives collected
along the trail when they saw
your heavy pack and strong legs

and the feeling that came over me watching
waves retreat, leaving nothing behind
but wetness (even that, temporary)
as you grew smaller and smaller
disappearing down that final
stretch of sand.

E.B. Licata (she/her) is a writer, editor and poet in Seattle, Washington. She has a master’s degree in literature with an emphasis on creative writing. Her poem “an unfolding” won the 2022 Bermuda Triangle Prize and is published along with “our short story” in The Poet’s Billow. She also has a poem in the forthcoming issue (June 2023) of Hummingbird and is working on her first chapbook.

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