Oscar S. Cisneros


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A Child Carrying a Child
By Oscar S. Cisneros

It was a quiet day in Berkeley when I saw her there, a child carrying a child. I wondered what she would think of me. Would there be fear in her eyes? Would she trust me, the child she had raised?

I remember the bush at the foot of the rose garden. In its amble boughs I saw the many faces of femininity -- from the tightest bud, to the withered one, from the disease speckled flower, to the one whose white petals were tender like a woman's inner thigh. So sensual were the yellow plumes rising from the midst of the flower.

I looked about. Couples old and new sat or walked in soft silence through the garden. The sun still shone bathing people and plants in its warm amber rays.

The flowers at the base of the garden kept calling to me. I could not resist their allure. There was something intoxicating about them. Perhaps it was the heat. I looked away from the diseased ones and the ones that had withered. My eyes moved past the buds to the blossoms in bloom. What seduction is this from the skin of a flower? Oh, gentle blossom with your scent so close about you, how I long to feel the softness and the moisture of your petals upon my face. I will hold you and celebrate your beauty even when it fades.

I looked about again and saw her. She was not really real, but she was real enough in my mind. I cannot remember what my mother looked like when she had me at age sixteen but I can "remember" through the pictures of her youth. And there she stood, barely a bud, in my memories at the rose garden, carrying me on her hip. What would she see in the man she had raised if she knew him only as a stranger? I wished only to assure her, to be a source of sweetness and strength.

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