Erasure Poem by Alyssa Zhao

Paula by Isabelle Allende

Listen, Paula, I am going to tell you a story, so that when you wake up you will not feel so lost. The legend of our family begins at the end of the last century, when a robust Basque sailor disembarked on the coast of Chile with his mother’s reliquary strung around his neck and his head swimming with plans for greatness. But why start so far back? It is enough to say that those who came after him were a breed of impetuous women and men with sentimental hearts and strong arms fit for hard work. Some few irascible types died frothing at the mouth, although the cause may not have been rage, as evil tongues had it, but rather, some local pestilence. The descendants bought fertile land, which increased in value with time. My grandmother divided my grandfather’s state of mind before he himself was able to undo the tangle of his own feelings. Standing before the altar, the bride was a vision from another era, adorned in ivory lace and a riot of wax orange blossoms threaded through her chignon. When my grandfather saw her, he knew he would love her till the end of his days.

you will not feel


our family begins


plans for greatness,

with sentimental hearts and                                        hard work.


the tangle of    feelings.         Stand   before the altar,                                                                                   in ivory lace and

orange blossoms.

Love,   till the end of      days.