Salvador Late or Early

Narrative Poem, Howard Period 1, November 4, 2013

Salvador Late or Early

By Sandra Cisneros

Salvador with eyes the color of caterpillar, Salvador of the crooked hair and teeth, Salvador whose name the teacher cannot remember,is a boy who is no one’s friend, runs along somewhere in that vague direction where homes are the color of bad weather, lives behind a raw wood doorway, shakes the sleepy brothers awake,ties their shoes, combs their hair with water, feeds them milk andcorm flakes from a tin cup in the dim dark of the morning.

Salvador, late or early, sooner or later arrives with the string of younger brother ready. Helps his mama, who is busy with the business of the baby. Tugs the arms of Cecilio, Arturito, makes them hurry, because today, like yesterday, Arturito has dropped the cigar box of crayons, has let go the hundred little fingers of red,green, yellow, blue, and nub of black sticks that tumble and spillover and beyond the asphalt puddles until the crossing guard lady holds back the blur of traffic for Salvador to collect them again.

Salvador inside that wrinkled shirt, inside that throat that must clear itself and apologize each time it speaks, inside that forty pound body of boy with its geography scars, its history of hurt,limbs stuffed with feathers and rags, in what part of the eyes, in what part of the heart, in that cage of the chest where something throbs with both fists and knows only what Salvador knows, inside that body too small to contain the hundred balloons of happiness,the single guitar of grief, is a boy like any other disappearing out the door. Beside the schoolyard gate, where he has told his brothers they must wait. Collects the hands of Cecilio and Arturito, scuttles off dodging the many schoolyard colors, the elbows and wrists crisscrossing, the several shoes running. Grows small and smaller to the eye, dissolves into the bright horizon,flutters in the air before disappearing like a memory of kites.

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