Issue 47 (Oct. 2015)
Yoshikane Araki was the tiniest man Margaret Morri had ever seen, at just under eight inches tall, weighing in at two pounds, six ounces fully clothed, and she loved him passionately, devotedly, from the moment he first parted hair from her face and kissed her, until their final kiss thirty-eight years later, Kane’s tears and saliva amounting to a mask of glistening snail movement across her cheek, Margaret asleep, dreaming of Kane’s parted lips, then drifting free from the body captured by uterine cancer, slipping from Kane’s small, strong fingers, his retreating cheekbones, his flat Greek nose, his blue-black beard.
When it came for Kane Araki to pack his suitcase for Gila River, he knew he could not survive the desert without his eight pairs of cowboy boots. For them to fit, he crammed one boot into another, then those boots he packed into another like Russian nesting dolls. Finally he was left with a single, densely-packed shaft of cowhide and lizard skin he wedged into a crook at the base of his case.
Our mothers are the architects of our last hope. The King says so, in his final transmission, before he loses communication with this last remnant of his kingdom. He slumbers now, in the belly of a ship traveling ceaselessly through the stars, far away from this dying world. It is a cold, heavy sleep from which we doubt he will ever awaken. But our mothers both insist that someday-someone-something could find and awaken their –- Mother Aobh chides us gently, “our” –- civilization.
The mail brought a welcome gift; I had been suffering a rough week. It had compounded into a broken coffeemaker the night before, white-hot rage, fatigue and the sensation that my body was limited. The universe — or at least my friend Lacy — had decided to throw me a bone when I was feeling my worst.
Ingga was no ordinary friend. She appeared at the bedside of Amina’s mother on the day of Amina’s birth. Her mother died but Ingga never left, following Amina everywhere like a shadow. Only Amina could see Ingga, but her father knew that his daughter had an encanto. When Amina was a baby he would see his daughter pointing then giggling or shrieking in laughter at something that he couldn’t see. He didn’t even have to teach her how to speak. Amina learned to speak by herself. The first word she uttered was “Ingga.”