And you all know security
Is mortals’ chiefest enemy.
–Hecate in Macbeth, Act III, Scene V
Ignacio Castenada and his wife Gloria
prized their daughter Irene as though she were their salvation.
And that she was. She was as selfless as the young can be.
She told Floyce his name in Spanish, Flores Alejandro.
She would love to call him Flowers. Years before the sixties,
he would pursue his love for her under any name she chose.
When he turned that moment to see her back against the door,
her dark eyes watching him drive, his love blossomed and flowered.
That was the year he was reading George Orwell and Shakespeare.
He read Dante in translation, and Cervantes the same.
Irene chose La Vida de Lazarillo de Tormes
y sus fortunas y adversidades to read aloud.
It proved difficult for her to read in Spanish this book,
brief though it was, from the sixteenth century. Espanol
was her second language. Talking, she knew, was easier,
Spanish the only language her father and mother spoke.
Floyce loved her persistence, her need to master for herself
the passage of Spanish on the page from her lips to his ears.
Then he read to her "Shooting the Elephant" and Macbeth
and she wept over the elephant and loved the witches
and Hecate. He abhorred the policeman in Burma
admitting he killed the beast to avoid looking a fool.
She would love to play Hecate reminding her witches
that those comforted by certainty were most certain to fall.
Her new name for him proved as sancrosanct as love-making
after mass on Sundays on the hill above Sunnyside.
When he moved to Seattle she visited him there once.
It was a new world, she said, but it would take time to know
thoroughly, like her house on the Roza. Or Mexico,
where she believed she would feel far more at home than anywhere.
She loved Seattle, she loved what he loved. Yet he sensed once
would be enough for her. And it was. She wrote long letters
with the flourish of her cursive, the image of a rose
on her stationery. Where her words began his ended.
Even so, he drove over the mountains to be with her.
Yet there was no going back. Her only home was here, his there.
(10 November 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander