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October 2013, vol 9, no 3

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Diane de Anda


El Carpintero

My great grandfather's hands, chestnut with round burlwood knuckles, sun and wind worn bark of hands, built a nameless legacy across his ninety years. Each rising voice, each nimble ankle sweeping across the stage extolled El Maestro in the grand theatre he built in his Zacatecas home, the applause of uncalloused hands ringing in the rafters that rose as callouses in swirling knotholes grew across his palms. Revolution came on thundering hooves and drafted his hands to raise broad walls, shield and shelter for the soldier's night retreat. But his hands worked wood, not the blood of either side, and so he traveled North and traded peace for poverty. And though he left no monuments, each night, lights glow in windows marking his southwest journey, scattered jewels touched by his hands strung along the path he chose.

In the center of the round-stoned street, the place where the first settlers walked in the City of Angels , stand creaking wooden sheds, the puestos he built to hold fragments of his culture. I touch a worn frame, 80 years standing in place, the parched wood hiding beneath the bright splash of paint, to feel where his wood worn hands rode across its surface, as though our touch could meet for one fleeting second across time. His hands, woven through mine, led me through his garden, fed me peeled perfume of orange slices, rocked his wife's cold alabaster hands farewell, died in a hospital bed, tied and dangling in a noose.

headless stalks
in the moonlight
winter rosebush




crane