Rue Leaves

Translated by Katrina Hassan

Jesusa walks along the edge of the sidewalk as she admires the yellow colors emanating from the sunflowers that adorn people’s houses. In August, the heat makes the wildflower petals burst in bloom and it seasons the wild grass in the meadows. The smell of lavender makes the last days of summer unforgettably beautiful. The time when the sunflowers bloom is Jesusa momentarily forgets about all her aches and pains. 

She eats watermelon, cranberries and peaches. Jesusa makes a salad of avocado, basil and lime and makes lemonade with mint. She sets out her rue leaves to dry. These will be for her tea in the winter. After many attempts she finally managed to grow herself a rue plant. It has survived three winters. The plant gallantly grows back every spring, when the cherry trees blossom and the tulips bid goodbye to the last frost and the black ice.

Only in August when the last cicadas sing and the maples leaves begin to change color does Jesusa forget for a moment that she is undocumented. For only a moment she forgets  that she couldn’t bury her three daughters that died of dehydration trying to cross the Sonoran desert trying to reunite with her. They were trying to come to the country where all your dreams are supposed to come true.

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Ilka Oliva-Corado @ilkaolivacorado

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