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Wednesday, August 19, 2020


by Anita Cabrera

Photo source:  Photo credit: Lucas Jackson/Reuters via The New York Times.

In uniform-approved black shoes
feet now less nimble, snug inside
compression socks, he brings
checks and bills, report cards and
acceptance notices. Stuffs in flyers,
voter registration forms, packages
small enough to fit, before trudging
ahead heavied with our secrets (a

Card from prison, lien or loan). A
habit or skill not to sweat or to
complain through heatwave days or
winter rains? Varicose veins and
senile terrier nips endured with
tempered grace. Each pause at
box or slot, obedience to route and
oath. Gives us time to ask about
his family, catch him up on ours.
For years I called him

Merlin before learning Marlon is
his name, as in Brando. The
months his child lay quiet in a
coma, he kept a steady measured
pace, balanced the envelope of
grief and duty. Both our temples
greyer now, he’s ready to go
out of circulation, fly first-

Class, get whisked away, back to
where he can rest his legs, just
in time, before all of
our mail piles up

Anita Cabrera is a poet, essayist and fiction writer whose work has appeared in The Berkeley Poetry Review, Brain, Child Magazine, Colere, Acentos Review, The New Guard, and other journals. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Award, and adapted and performed by the Word for Word Theater Group. Ms. Cabrera lives and teaches in San Francisco, CA where she is active in dance and recovery communities.