Ode to Aunty Dora

The house was long abandoned, even though the gate swung open and bright pink jump and kiss flowers filled a tire by the fence. He had drank too much and beat her and slept around. Still, she had done her duty and borne his children and not left him and minded him on his deathbed even. She belched loudly and unabashedly when she drank her tea, grew monster squash in the backyard in Queens where she now lived, and was one of my few aunts who did not harass me about getting married and settling down. You live your life how you want, she told me; don’t bother with people. The house- long abandoned now; he buried in the back yard. She has no good memories of that place; aint want nothing to do with it. It’s children property but all the children are parents and grandparents now, living overseas, who rarely even visit. I walk in through the open gate, past the pink jump and kiss flowers, up the rickety stairs, to peer in the windows. Marabuntas have taken over; large nests fill the house and yard. The grass is tall in the back. But the sapodilla tree at the side of the house is loaded with lovely big brown globes of fruit, three times bigger than the miniature ones the Bourda market vendors try to palm off on unsuspecting town folk. As a child in Guyana, place where everybody has a nickname, usually based on some physical feature, mine was brownie, because I was darker than my siblings and because I loved sapodilla. Brown skin and sweetness. I kicked off my slippers and started climbing, careful not to disturb the marabuntas.

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