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The Language of Tongues

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0020662/00001

Material Information

Title: The Language of Tongues
Physical Description: 1 online resource (39 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Garcia, Melissa
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: garcia, melissa, poetry, thesis
English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Creative Writing thesis, M.F.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: I began writing poetry in middle school as a way to express my feelings about relationships and life; I now use those same poems as teaching examples of what not to do in writing poetry. These poems move away from teenage angst and into the realms of artwork, language, culture, religion, food, and family, detailing the relationships among them.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Melissa Garcia.
Thesis: Thesis (M.F.A.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Wade, Sidney E.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2017-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0020662:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0020662/00001

Material Information

Title: The Language of Tongues
Physical Description: 1 online resource (39 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Garcia, Melissa
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: garcia, melissa, poetry, thesis
English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Creative Writing thesis, M.F.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: I began writing poetry in middle school as a way to express my feelings about relationships and life; I now use those same poems as teaching examples of what not to do in writing poetry. These poems move away from teenage angst and into the realms of artwork, language, culture, religion, food, and family, detailing the relationships among them.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Melissa Garcia.
Thesis: Thesis (M.F.A.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Wade, Sidney E.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2017-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0020662:00001


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PAGE 1

1 THE LANGUAGE OF TONGUES By MELISSA GARCIA A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF FINE ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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2 2007 Melissa Garcia

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3 To the memory of my great aunt, Onelia Ares for whom many of these poems are written.

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Sidney Wade for her time, patience, and constancy in helping me fulfill my goals as both a student and writer; if not for her, my thesis would not be in the sh ape it is in; Ira Clark for being an inspirational teacher of Rena issance poetry and for demonstrati ng the almost lost art of close reading because it is important; Michael Hofmann for teaching me so much about poetry and for introducing me to some of my fa vorite poets; also for his ability to understand so much of his students poetry and for giving me the confidence in my own work; lastly, Id like to thank my family and my boyfriend for keeping me grounde d and helping me reach for the stars.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ..............7 ANTHROPOMORPHIC CUPBOARD WITH DRAWERS ...............................................................8 THE RECOGNITION................................................................................................................ .....9 AN INVECTIVE................................................................................................................... ........10 BURNING GIRAFFE .....................................................................................................................11 WEATHER........................................................................................................................ ............12 PATIENT #27.................................................................................................................... ............13 FOR NARCISSUS.................................................................................................................. .......14 ESE MUCHACHO................................................................................................................... .....15 ODE............................................................................................................................ ...................16 CENTO.......................................................................................................................... ................17 CONSCIOUSNESS.................................................................................................................. .....18 PRAYER......................................................................................................................... ...............19 GENESIS 1...................................................................................................................... ..............20 ALLATOONA PASS, GEORGIA................................................................................................21 ROYAL AFRICAN VIOLET........................................................................................................22 FLIGHT......................................................................................................................... ................23 SESSION 10..................................................................................................................... .............24 TSUNAMI........................................................................................................................ .............25 DISCORD........................................................................................................................ ..............26 PERSONAL....................................................................................................................... ............28 CIRCUS TRAIN WRECK............................................................................................................29

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6 FRAY........................................................................................................................... ..................30 CHANGE......................................................................................................................... ..............31 EMAIL FROM FLORIDA............................................................................................................32 PAGEANT........................................................................................................................ .............33 CIELO CUBANO................................................................................................................... .......34 I USED TO THINK MY TA NE WAS A MAN.......................................................................35 AN INVITATION.................................................................................................................. .......36 UN INVITACIN.................................................................................................................. .......37 FELIZ NAVIDAD, PROSPERO AOS Y FELICIDAD.........................................................38 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................38

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7 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Fine Arts THE LANGUAGE OF TONGUES By Melissa Garcia August 2007 Chair: Sidney Wade Major: Creative Writing I began writing poetry in middle school as a way to express my feelings about relationships and life; I now use those same poems as teaching examples of what not to do in writing poetry. These poems move away from t eenage angst and into th e realms of artwork, language, culture, religion, food, and family, detailing the relationships among them.

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8 ANTHROPOMORPHIC CUPBOARD WITH DRAWERS A female figure reclines, tired, naked, and covered by a bit of sunlight. Her torso is a bureau: six drawers, two knobs each for nipples, a keyhole in the bottom drawer. She harbors a mans possessions: his gold cufflinks and silk neck ties, his daily schedules, his fishnets. His most secret affairs go in the bottom drawer, locked up in her deepes t interior. One day, shell rummage through his drawers in hopes of finding some semblance of the man she knows intimately, perhaps a note that smells of her jasmine perfumeinstead, shell find small bird bones, a snail shell, a tiny, spinning spider.

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9 THE RECOGNITION Circumspect Penelope is scolded by the illustrious Odysseus and thoughtful Telemachos. They call her cold and hard-hearted she has not welcomed her beloved, returned from twenty years of war. Though he has strung his own bow and slain the suitors inside the palace walls, she does not recognize this tattered man. After the battle, Eurynome bathes Odysseus, anoints him with olive oil, dresses him in a purple mantle and tunic. Athena blesses him, returns to him his youthful body and the dark curls that frame his head like ivy and smell of rain. Still Penelope waits and wonders; there is no laurel or jasmine in her arms. It isnt the scar on his foot, his fine clothes or dark hair that Penelope recognizes. Its how he speaks of their bedroom, eyes hazing with anger. No man could move that bed I carved around the olive tree of my youth. She runs to him, embracing him in her white arms; his rough hands braze the iron in her heart.

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10 AN INVECTIVE Foul and loathsome daughter of Coriander to the Greeks, a green bug to be squashed, not smothered on lamb shanks. The poor unfortunate souls of India believe you to be an aphrodisiac let them eat oysters and dark chocolates instead. You are the poor excuse for an herb that Argentines rub on flank steak with lime juice. Salsa would do much better without you; you dont belong with onions, tomatoes, or peppers. Mexican guacamole is ruined by your very presence. You are a weed and should be eradicated from every forest and garden. You make me sick, Cilantro. I hate you to the root.

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11 BURNING GIRAFFE The woman is a giant, tall and thin, large-breasted and curvy, held up by wooden crutches. She often ponders why she stands this way, arms outstretched to nothing, feet shoulder-width apart, firmly grafted to the soil. A giraffe burns in the background, smoke wafting off its hide. It smells of sandalwood and she wonders if her flesh will burn as sweetly. For the moment, she seems frozen in place, her blue dress iced over in white clouds.

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12 WEATHER He is the knife in her back. Hearing your smile saddens my withered hands Seizures would make her feel better. When you speak to me, Lysol courses through my veins. The trees stand short and abrupt, bending beside her. You are an old shoe that I will throw away with the wind at my back. Smearing her peanut butter hair, the wind whispers It will be over soon

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13 PATIENT #27 His lips press rubbing alcohol into my cut flesh. Locusts spout from his hole of a mouth and his tongue escapes, a fat, black leech at my neck. Pinned under his torso, I do not want this. His words slice me like a rusty scalpel and I am running out of gauze.

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14 FOR NARCISSUS I had an unhealthy yearning for your glaucous ocean eyes, your full and bitten lips, your hard body that even men adored. It was very sudden, this lust. You were all I wanted to look at, to hold. My love for you consumed me, but ever full of yourself, you left me with only this stupid white flower.

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15 ESE MUCHACHO Bueno, let me tell you about that son-of-a-bitch come mierda que tiene el cabezn up his ass. Its such a shame t hough, porque at first he really seemed pleasant. Hes cmico, smart and ambitious too, pero ahora, I see that he is his biggest fan and no one puede meter between him and his ego. Me di cuenta how big of a jerk he was cuando he called and invited himself over to mi apartamento. I thought, You know what? Olvdate porque he says hell only stay for 15 minutes pero no. He comes over with his disgusting El Presidente cerveza and that shitty sonrisa on his face. I hate that sour lemon smile because behind it hay nada pero empty words and pride. So hes sentado on my bed and were hablando and joking around, y quince minutos pasan, so I say Times up, amigo. Leave Bueno, I must have told him vete 20 times before he showed any signs of listening. Actually, con cada momento, it got worse. Hed sit closer a mi lado and even took off his camisa! When his pantalones came off, I screamed, recog his clothes, and headed straight for mi puerta. Vete por carjo, and get the fuck out! And with a flick of my mueca, his clothes dropped abajo with the same weight as his jaw, falling to the ground like a bag of rotten fruit.

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16 ODE I just cant get enough of youthe way you melt under my touch. How I wish I could carry you around with me always. For you are the delight I look to each day, your savory essence still fresh on my tongue. I relish your dark skin, your juicy interior, filling my mouth. You are a worldly lover: schocolade, cioccolato, cacau, caramelo, fondant, Baci my chocolate kiss.

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17 CENTO after Jewel Kilcher Pools cool in the small of my back. I dont suppose raindrops alone can replace the sound of bed springs or lust. I find myself inside and shy; with nimble fingers, I pick up my guitar, strum a plum blossomed song. Silver and quick, a yellow shiver flashes across my window. I imagine you, outside, soaked from the passing storm, handing me your wet clothes, lying in my bed, your musk heavy on my flesh. I miss your smile and thick skin at night, its raw and awkward charm. Infatuation is a strange thing I wish your fingers could feel these words, these cold and broken teeth. My bones ache, sweet and always falling.

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18 CONSCIOUSNESS I prepare you a plate of dinner and think its going to be like this forever: stratus clouds and rough hands. I feel you at my lips, my neck and sometimes suspect youll ring it instead of my finger. Mixing the moros I think of Dalis Soft Construction with Boiled Be ansPremonition of Civil War a twisted face, a muscular arm, a hand gripping a foot that steps on a fragment of torso. One arm grows out of another; one hand rests on the ground, another reaches up to strangle a single breast. I fear its going to be like this forever as the bowl drops from your hands.

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19 PRAYER Mercy rising through the mist; a fathers song, a mothers wish; the sinners rope; a final chance; a green-eyed, smoky sidelong glance; sun showers; twilight; a beggars plea; grace floating from clouds; apology; thanksgiving; sorrow; singing twice; meditation; sacrifice.

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20 GENESIS 1 God took His time to make the light and the dark, the day and night, the land and sky, the seas and rivers, the herbs and fruit-bearing trees, but it was still not enough and not just right. Then God decided to make something out of that firmament He called Heaven. With His magic fire hands, He rolled a giant ball of light and flares, spun it on His giant finger, and then bit into it like a giant peach, twice. He reformed the ball and tossed it up into the Heavens, called it the Sun. Then He spit the first bite into His palm, rolled it in a little ball, placed it in the Heavens, named it Moon, made it matron over Night. He spit the rest of the fire ball out, all crunched up and broken into tiny pieces, and sprinkled them over the Heavens to accompany Moon, and called them Stars. Then He swallowed the galaxy.

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21 ALLATOONA PASS, GEORGIA based on the memoirs and diary entries of Private Jefferson Moses, Company G, 93rd Illinois Volunteers I enlisted with my comrades and we traveled together from fort to fort sleeping in barren barracks on blankets we brought from home, learning how to be soldiers and smoke the pipe. Stationed in Allatoona, the sun burned most of us so we looked like Injuns. From August to November, it rained heavy buckets. The wetness that remained clung like the Devils breath. In October, the rebels attacked our pickets, driving us from our rifle pits into the fort. J. Garmans finger was shot off by heated bullets; H. C. Carl was shot throu gh his right breast, lied in front of the fort for most of the battle, blood settling on his lungs. Next day, we gathered the dead and woundedtimbers full of pale bodies stained in red and purple, suited in blues and grays. In my dreams, Garman still has only four fingers.

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22 ROYAL AFRICAN VIOLET My ancestors traveled oceans, and now I sit on your windowsill, listening for your return. You caress me, delicately brushing the dirt and dog hair that sticks to my h earty, velvet leaves, my fuchsia blooms. You prune carefully, removing old leaves since I cannot, squeezing my tender stalks between your fingers, pulling gently. I hear you whisper my hearing sharpens when you steep me in water; otherwise, I am deaf to your world, waiting for you to soak into mine.

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23 FLIGHT Sandpaper sweet, your mouth is a desert of ruby cherries and salchichas A young girl in a hot pink bi kini with matching cape flies to the chartreuse moon with her green guitar and sings Stumm Scheie schweinhund Our water is composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and crack. The moon cries Dame un besito amor and the tide rises.

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24 SESSION 10 skin fissures electric shocking light radiates through the flesh the temples of the gods silver quick rising up the smear of sanity open eyed anxious for another just one more

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25 TSUNAMI The tide rolls in like Sanskrit Rs, pushes its watery, weather-worn tongue of fragmented sentences, silence and sand across the Indonesian harbor, engulfs the beach in lurid language a tidal wave of foreign sound it swallows cityscape and ground, peeling building faades like an orange; it leaves only backslashes, commas, colons in its wake metal scraps, tossed umbrellas; the tide recedes in sullen crashes.

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26 DISCORD There was a time when all the gods and goddesses lived together with Buddha and Allah and God. It was a state of Nirvana until someone got bored. God thought He was a little better than His competition. So He made Himself a world with trees and plants, fish and animals, sun and moon, man and woman. He told them He was their God and they should worship Him so they did. And God felt reassured that He was the best. Iris brought word that God made Himself a world and soon, all the gods and goddesses were creating worlds, each a little microcosm of themselves. Ekchuah invented chocolate, Hephaestus forged flame throwers, Aphrodite made mirrors. God feared their creations might be better than His, so that very night, God threw a fete and Everyone was invited. It was a show and tell party, and God bid Everyone bring their new creations with them. God placed them in the Great Hall Buddhas secret butterfly ga rden; Allahs Kaaba; Poseidons teeming seas; Thors thunderbolts; Apollos lyre and arrows. God seated his guests down to feast and then excused Himself to the toilets. No one paid Him any mind, as He was known to have bouts of diarrhea. While Everyone filled themselves with ambrosia, God swallowed all their creations and then tied up His intestines, vowing never to eat again.

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27 When His guests came to the Hall after the feast, everything was missing. They began accusing one another Hera claimed Aphrodite was a hooker whose lips spread corruption; Shiva accused Buddha of eating his army, but Buddha swore he never left the table; Thor accused Zeus of being unoriginal. It was Argus who told them what happened, how, in the hall, he saw God licking the chocolate off His fingers.

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28 PERSONAL SWHF. Thats right White AND Hispanic. Short and curvy Pisces who loves food and a good time. Into poetry, music, silly movies ( Zoolander a MUST); must have good sense of humor and have a thing for Will Ferrell. Not into spicy foods or anything too ethnic (think Along Came Polly ); more of a steak and potatoes kind of woman. I like the dark meat, and medium rare ;) Enjoy dancing and singing; think Shakira (Hips Dont Lie), only brunette and not such a mannish singing voice, and no belly-dancing clothes, and more voluptuous. So maybe not Shakira so much as, say, Britney Spears, only not white trashy or slutty or pregnant, which reminds me. NK, not now, not ever. I subbed for a Kindergarten class once and nearly slit my wrists with their childproof scissors. Those kids were germy, snot-covered monsters. Not into S&M or 420 types; prefer men with muscles but must have brains. MFA or PhD a must! No TDH attributes required; just a good guy (W,B,H, or A) to share a bottle (Pinot preferred) over dinner and discuss Degas, Duhamel, Dolittle, Do Da! Call me ;)

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29 CIRCUS TRAIN WRECK This isnt going to work. Id rather be a monkeys wife than one of yours. Take your pitchfork and shove it, along with your beliefs in the rapid properties of sunless tans and five minute tosses in the hay. This life used to be funyou with your muscle man act and your tight, sequined pants. I was a fool to forgive you when you screamed out, Marianne, even rubbed your massive chest in almond oil and took you in again. I let you believe you were the jewel that people came to see, a hurricane swelling on a purple bucket. You never could entertain like the trapeze artists, their arms locked, teeth shining in Barnum a nd Baileys Greatest Show on Earth, so Im moving to Nantucket where Prunis dulcis grows rampant now, with Brad, the handsome circus clerk who likes how I do things adagio

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30 FRAY We dont fit together like married people do; your brightness dulls my senses and I dont want to understand the terms of your rhetoric; my lexicon is too contracted for your polemic. Im tired of always listening. You dont make dinner plans or graze my neck with y our hot breath. Please try to understand were made of different cords not meant to intertwine; the interstices in your intent were more than just a line.

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31 CHANGE At the intersection of I-95 and Davie Boulevard a Vietnam Veteran amputee begs for change. In one hand, he bears a sign that reads Support our Troops ; in the other, some kind of container a hat, an old cup, a cracked plastic bucket that he holds out to passersby. Hes always in the same clothescutoff jean shorts, an unbuttoned shirt with brown stains, his fat chest burning. His skin is like rawhide. Gnarled remnants of leg protrude from under his torso; his thighs glow in the afternoon heat. The light changes and I drive past him, watch him wave in my rear view mirror, then remember my sisters story of how God disguises Hi mself as homeless bums to test our charity. I make a U-turn twice, pull up at the light next to him, roll down my window, hand him the one dollar bill I keep in my car for emergencies. He says God bless you places my dollar in his bucket. I feel better like Ive done something right, though I know hed be happier with a beer, an umbrella, two whole legs.

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32 EMAIL FROM FLORIDA Three months have passed but I still see raindrops grazing your stubbled face. I hope youre well and still find time for Guinness and poetry. Im sorry about your job can you go back to fishing? I recall your tattooed forearms and skin, dark and thick, battered by sun and wind. On cold nights, I remember Dublin, and you and me cozy in some business doorway outside Trinity College. When it rains here, I wonder about the weather over there, bleary sunrises and thunderstorms at night. Sometimes, when I lie restless, I imagine your fingers in my knotted hair, and you curled behind me, not sad, not stoned, not married.

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33 PAGEANT My mother placed my sisters and me in a Cinderella pageant when I was three. I didnt understand stage directions because I didnt know English well (I spoke mostly Spanish), so when it was my turn to walk onstage, I wandered kind of aimlessly, until fingers pointed out to me where to walk. They laughed. When they asked, I answered in slow English that I wanted to be a teacher and a ballet dancer I also answered that I had sisters who were neither older nor younger than I was, but that Ali was nine and Daniella was seben They laughed. After many hours, I was tired and hungry and falling asleep on my mothers lap when she said, Melissa, wake up! They might call your name! I began to yell Call my name! Call my name! And when they did, I charged up to the stage in my favorite purple dress with bells. I nearly ran into the podium, and when I smacked my forehead with my hand, Omigoodness! they laughed and awarded me Miss Personality When we got home, my sisters took my crown and broke my trophy.

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34 CIELO CUBANO i.m. Onelia Ares Ta ne has returned looking pleasantly plump and slightly more youthful. Her hair remains untouched silver and grey. She wears her old sunglasses with a tangerine button-down blouse and classic white slacks. She looks at me, smiling her pink smile, tells me she is alrigh t, that she is happy but annoyed at her sister porque ella siempre joda And shes right. Ta Bertha is still a pain in the ass. She makes my sister drive out to Hialeah: Don Pan for pastelitos de guayaba Publix for galleticas y leche by the gallon. Of course, Bertha cant do it herself; she never leaves the house excep t to go to Lord and Taylors. Ta ne sits down, fatigued. Its tiring in heaven, she says, a constant fiesta, Que Dios nunca nos deja dormir. Siempre estamos bailando aqu Grinning, she reaches into her right pocket, pulls out two watermelon Jolly Ranchers, and hands me one, whispering, No te preocupas mija.

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35 I USED TO THINK MY TA NE WAS A MAN i.m. Onelia Ares To my four-year-old eyes, Ta ne was a portrait of manliness. ne never went to the peluquera with her sister, Bertha, for hair and nails; nes hair was short and gr ey, like Pap Garcias. She wore mens cologne which reminded me of my father. She lived with Bertha, and I thought they were husband and wife like my parents. I never saw her in dresses or skirtsjust button-down blouses and slacks. She never wore heels like my mother, preferred mannish loafers and white folded socks instead, so it came as quite a shock at her funeral to see her in the casket with fuchsia lips, ivory eye shadow, and a white dr ess with periwinkle flowers. Bertha told us it was her favorite dress.

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36 AN INVITATION i.m. Onelia Ares Return to me as I remember you salt and pepper hair, dark eyeglasses, and a blouse with gold keys and locks on it. You can eat black olives like you do in my dreams. Stand here in my kitchen and teach me how to cook flan. Tell me your secret recipe, because it was a disaster the last time I made it. Well, not totally because the people eating it were gringos and didnt know any better, but I knew it wasnt as sweet or yellow as yours. Oh, Ta. When your sister Bertha calls, I get so angry with her for making you her personal chef and maid. When she insulted you, youd leave the house, ride the bus because you didnt have a license, buy ham from the butcher to eat with crackers. Ta, unlock for me the secret of patience.

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37 UN INVITACIN i.m. Onelia Ares Vuelve a m como yo te recuerdo pelo de sal y pimiento, espejuelos oscuros, y una blusa con llaves y cerraduras de oro. Puedes comer aceitunas negras co mo t haces en mis sueos. Pare aqu en mi cocina y ensame como cocinar un flan. Dgame la receta especial, porque la ultima vez que lo hizo, fue un desastre. Bueno, no totalmente porque los invitados eran todos gringos y no saban la diferencia, pero yo sabia que no era tan dulce o amarillo como el tuyo. Ay, Ta. Cuando tu hermana Berta me llama, me pongo tan enojada con ella para hacerle su jefe de cocina y criada. Cuando ella le insult, t salas de la casa, cogas la guagua porque no tena una licencia, y comprabas jamn del carnicero para comer con galleticas. Ta, brame el secreto de paciencia.

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38 FELIZ NAVIDAD, PROSPERO AOS Y FELICIDAD i.m. Onelia Ares (1922-2003) Were dancing after Christmas dinner to Ta Cristinas Elvis Crespo CD. My Ta ne wears a crimson cardigan with her turtle pins and rosy glasses. Her dark skin glows in the flash like the gold pinky ring on her left hand which holds the remote control. She has it out because her older sister, with whom she lives, has asked Donde est el control? Her sister, Bertha, had warned me before dinner to make sure not to serve her beans or carrots porque yo tengo el diverticulitis. She now suggests to my cousin Jorge that he lose weight b ecause hes always been gordo and will never meet a girl looking like that. While we dance, she informs Cristina Ya est tarde and they should be leaving soon. And I just laugh, watching Ta ne smile her strawberry smile, dancing with the control in her hand.

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39 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Melissa Garcia was born the youngest of three girls in Miami, Florida. She earned her bachelors degree in English at Florida Internat ional University. She graduated in August 2007 from the University of Florida with her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. She has lived in Florida her whole life and plans on keeping it that way, regardless of her big plan s to travel through the United States and Europe. She hopes to one day visit her fathers homeland of Cuba, planting seeds of tobacco, sugar cane, and almonds. She enjoys gardening and also loves pizza.