Tía Roberta

She was devoted to cauliflowers, Tía Roberta. She kneels on the center of her garden and prays. Por estas criaturas, Dios mío, por estas criaturas. For these creatures, my Lord, for these creatures. Look, look. Tía Roberta clears the thick leaves and caresses the white, wrinkly cauliflower heads. I am eight years old, early autumn, already cold. Tía Roberta’s husband feeds the geese. She kisses the cauliflowers and lifts her arms to the heavens. Tesoro mío, mis  ángeles calvitos. My treasure, my little bold angels.

This coffee is so good, so good this coffee. Tía Rafaela talks to my mother. That was last summer, when she came to visit us to bring persimmons for my father. He liked persimmons, strange fruit for a simple man who never asked for anything. Persimmons, maybe his only eccentricity. These are the best persimmons you ever have tried, the best persimmons. She drank her coffee with cup and saucer lifted over the kitchen table. I don’t want to make a mess. She held her sleeve with her hand and scrubbed the surface of the table. Like this, clean, clean. One, two, three, four circles, her sleeve pressed against the wood. Clean, clean. Not a single drop, not a speck. …