Chapter 12

Chapter 12 – 1: “Louise’s Love Poem”

ch12-1It’s forevermore.

Chapter 12 – 2: “David’s photograph”


Miguel walking near his home in Santurce, Puerto Rico.

Chapter 12 – 3: La Mallorquina

La Mallorquina had ancient wooden fans hanging from vaulted ceilings and tables covered with paper placemats boasting it was the oldest restaurant in Puerto Rico.

Chapter 12 – 4: “Un Gran Dolor”

ch12-3Michael had the sign printed and taped to the wall of the dining area in his apartment. “Nothing makes us greater than a great suffering.”

Chapter 12 – 5: “Pink Waves”

ch12-4The night before Louise dreamt Michael touched her shoulder, assuring her that after all, she was all right. That morning she painted an acrylic and tacked onto its back her poem titled “Pink Waves.”

Chapter 12 – 6: “Intimate Ethnography I”

The project gave us a common ground. It was something we could talk about that was of genuine interest to me and flattering to him. We talked about people and places, and his memories of feelings and thoughts over the long course of his life.

Chapter 12 – 7: “Intimate Ethnography II”

My father was a “subject who remembered.” My depiction shows him as I knew him—with his strengths and his vulnerabilities, his flaws and his virtues, his insights and his ignorance, neither all-good nor all-bad, just real.

Chapter 12 – 8: “With What Remains”

ch12-7One is a photograph of my mother from the 1940s. She looks quite beautiful except for the piece now torn from her face. I felt annoyed. Why did he glue these precious photographs together? For Andres, the grandchild, the photographs were glued one atop the other, a single stack. It became my job to detach them, my task also with this story—to pull apart, rearrange, preserve, even tear in some places—and tell a story and a history that are at once separate and together. I would work with what remained.