My mother came down to breakfast one day said I want a fireplace my father said why she said I want to return to La Sabanilla and he said alright we’ll kill the birds.

He cleared nests of gray-rumped swifts, short-tailed swifts, common swifts, night jars, the later spring birds, mississippi kites.

The four of us were once on vacation on The Pfauninsel, the morning came flowering through the room looking stained on her paisley print dress, the sun giving us some thing gray and cold, her insecurities dripping down to us, condensing into a pure weter hatred for my father and for America.

She was Estrella then; my father was Benito and I had been many places in utero: in the great Mexico City earthquake, in a hotel across the UNESCO building, bare beeches, the little Wannsee, Tottenham Court Road, and I found out all this much later in the kitchen while he was trying to get tit right.

I am trying to get it right, too. I am trying to conjure the memories of sleeping in the same bed as my older brother who was my new father after he left and the light from downstairs weaving up through the banisters and splashing on his face, on the violent indigo bruises that healed a little each day, and of Kiowa who was also my new father after he left saying how he rides trains late at night, moving quietly through the cars, finding something valuable now and then.

They met when the sunset resembled something cosmic and wonderful and orange, in those days when she thought if I don’t fall in love this summer I must be crazy, drunk on pretense in front of the White Giraffe with cups at her feet.

The night he proposed, the tequila was saying Yes I’ll marry you, Benito, and the gin was slurring its words, and the pale, thin hours before dinner were for dark, cheap hashish, the room inexplicably changing its coordinates five stories above the city.

When he left, he kissed her goodbye. It could have been any kind of a kiss: Butterfly, French, Eskimo, passionate, frog, Judas, babies and politicians, gouramis, tulips, tooth-bumbing, sidelong, lipsticked, friend, stale aunt and the pulse of fish lips, grudging, let’s make up , for luck, on the cool forehead of the dead, adieu, of death, of victory, of what might even be described as love.

I was crouched down at the top of the stairs, feeling drowsy, making plans for the next day, thinking I’d be seeing him. Foxhill Shop Road, a bike chain, the university lab.