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Mandala of the Soapy Water, and: Arrangements

Mandala of the Soapy Water, and: Arrangements Chloe Martinez Mandala of the Soapy Water A few photos: sharp cheekbones, deep-set eyes, both bequeathed to his son, my father. Grandma remarried, erased him so thoroughly he turned into smoke rings, the stock story she told: went out for cigarettes one day . . . and drifted away. My father, fathered by a cloud, became a painter, someone who could turn anything beautiful. Martinez our name, our mystery, mispronounced by me until college. Then the apologetic MARtin in my mouth, the ez tacked on quietly, as if to escape notice, was corrected. Over and over MarTINez came back to me, the only way New Yorkers knew how to say it. So his name, at least, returned. Later, I searched databases for him. No trace. As if he never was in the first place. Where a story of him would go is the sentence, He was a dishwasher—that odd formulation, as if washing dishes were a vocation, instead of a poorly paid, backbreaking job that he must have hoped to trade for something better. Instead of a story, the vague notion that he was Puerto Rican. Or ‘‘mixed’’: a little Spanish and Irish too. No story of who his http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Prairie Schooner University of Nebraska Press

Mandala of the Soapy Water, and: Arrangements

Prairie Schooner , Volume 93 (3) – Dec 21, 2019

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Nebraska Press.
ISSN
1542-426X

Abstract

Chloe Martinez Mandala of the Soapy Water A few photos: sharp cheekbones, deep-set eyes, both bequeathed to his son, my father. Grandma remarried, erased him so thoroughly he turned into smoke rings, the stock story she told: went out for cigarettes one day . . . and drifted away. My father, fathered by a cloud, became a painter, someone who could turn anything beautiful. Martinez our name, our mystery, mispronounced by me until college. Then the apologetic MARtin in my mouth, the ez tacked on quietly, as if to escape notice, was corrected. Over and over MarTINez came back to me, the only way New Yorkers knew how to say it. So his name, at least, returned. Later, I searched databases for him. No trace. As if he never was in the first place. Where a story of him would go is the sentence, He was a dishwasher—that odd formulation, as if washing dishes were a vocation, instead of a poorly paid, backbreaking job that he must have hoped to trade for something better. Instead of a story, the vague notion that he was Puerto Rican. Or ‘‘mixed’’: a little Spanish and Irish too. No story of who his

Journal

Prairie SchoonerUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Dec 21, 2019

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