abuelita stands at the concrete washboard

             & lays out abuelito’s shirt

along the ridges. turns

             on the faucet & a small river

falls out. fills


            a plastic bowl with water

& pours it over

            the cloth. yesterday he slit

a pig’s throat & fed


            his eight children, but the blood

stained his sleeve.

            she takes a bar of soap

& rubs the cotton against


            the concrete until the life

of last night’s meal comes

            out. she squeezes the damp shirt

& the water hiding in it runs


            into the mouth at the end

of the washboard. she hangs

            the shirt on a clothesline

in the sun. the wind runs through it.


            it smells of lavender.


Alfredo Aguilar is the son of Mexican immigrants. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Winter Tangerine, Vinyl, PEN Center USA's Rattling Wall, & elsewhere. He lives in North County San Diego.