Portrait of a Young Man on the Beach

Sergio A. Ortiz

I remember playing 
Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out 
the day before you got sick, Mom.
I listed the songs you did and did not like
while preparing Creole Chicken and rice.
I don't know why I insisted you eat 
the beetroot I didn’t want. 

Beetroot and carrot cake 
I cooked without seasoning
―Mom, I know I can heal you
with food and music.  
Please, let me give it a try.

I wake up, head towards 
my brother's bedroom, turn on the light, 
and ask him to play the Beatles loud enough 
for Mom to hear. 

He jumps out of bed, takes out his guitar, 
and starts playing Julia. I sing,
he pushes it back into its case, sighs,
and turns off the light. 
I microwave my cold Jambalaya and cornbread.

On the beach, wind plays its magical music, 
coos my sadness, my misfortune.

Fragile, the branch about to break,
I cling to memories of Gran Abuelo, 
mother's favorite cypress, 

binding me to her deepest natural roots.

Sergio A. Ortiz is a retired English professor and bilingual queer poet. A Pushcart nominee, Best of the Web, and Best of the Net nominee. He took second place in the 2016 Ramón Ataz annual poetry competition, sponsored by Alaire Publishing House. His recent credits include Spanish audio poems in GATO MALO Editing, Maleta Ilegal, Frances House, South Florida Poetry Journal,Communicators League, RatsAssReview, Spillwords and several other journals.

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