If we only had time on our side,
we would play hammock games.
Remember those balls of yarn
we gathered into knots while she
puttered in her little herb garden?
How she would tear at her hair
finding them strung like cobwebs
across her ornately carved chests
in the room that smelled of camphor.
A mesh of rainbow strings, abuela!
I would plead for them to remain
hanging trellis-like until sundown
when the setting sun’s rays break
through the window’s bamboo slats
and cast eerie shadows on her bed.
Was it worth all the time we rued
as lost kite-flying hours, while she
held her cane at a striking distance
and barked at every giggle spent
away from unravelling those knots?
Here I am, on my hammock hour,
untwisting those lost threads now
still knotted in my old cold heart,
where I know I can still hear her ask:
have you laid all your strings straight?
---Albert B. Casuga