Uncle

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Tío

Yo le digo tío-,

I call him uncle

Lo digo pa’ joder.

Just to piss him off.

Yo era forastero, solitario,

I was a stranger, alone,

Un poco amargado, resentido-

Quite bitter, resentful.

Pero me trató con sencillez,

But he treated me with openness,

Con cariño como si fuera digno de respeto,

And affection as if I merited respect.

Como si no hubiera cagado mi vida.

As if I hadn’t fucked up my life.

Cuando no soñaba, él me alimentó con sueños suyos.

When I couldn’t dream he fed me his own

Sueños Gonzalez, raros, bellos,

Gonzalez dreams, strange, and beautiful,

Con vitaminas de locura.

With vitamins of insanity.

Todavía  sueño con la vida más que la muerte,

I still dream of life more than death.

Puedo dar y recibir, soy sano, fuerte.

Can give, receive, am whole, strong.

Y todavía le digo tío,

And still I call him Uncle,

Porque no tengo nombre suficientemente grande,

For there’s no word great enough,

Ni profundo, ni ancho,

Or deep enough or wide,

Para este hombre que le digo tío,

For this man I call Uncle,

Aunque no es tío mío.

Who is no uncle of mine.

A few years later Tío got prostate cancer and I advised no aggressive treatment. Eight years after a dense stroke, he is  alert, diapered, and walks with difficulty, preferring to be wheeled about; he loves his bed. He still radiates good cheer, but sometimes in a moment of weakness confesses an ineffable  sadness.  After the dreaded  cancer diagnosis,  I had promised to interfere personally if he ever requested it. He has never asked.  Neither have I;  and the dreaded cancer has never spoken a word.  

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