Alfredo Barnaby

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Born in Lima, Peru, Alfredo Barnaby moved to the Idaho when he was thirteen. He has since lived in the northwest of the country. He has a master’s degree in Spanish literature and wrote his thesis about Peruvian poet César Vallejo. He just finished a year of teaching English in Galicia, Spain, and visiting friends and family in Lima. He currently lives in Seattle, WA,

The Visit


A sharp wind slides through the clock’s fingers, knits a night as weightless as a sheet
unhooked, one hazel leaf that cradles down. Under unheard steps over balding soil,
worn to a pearl by the tumble of years, a ball bounces on about to stop.

How many Soccer fields did we draw with the chalk of imagination? I trace vanishing
touchlines, rummage through penalty boxes, and dust off punts that mortared junk piles,
bicycle kicks that grazed the ball. Undraped are the glides and dribbles gleaned from boys
concrete held on ice palms, rosy dusks on our knees when we stumbled. Summer’s door
would creak, in the evening breezes, and our grandmother would shout us in hands on
waist. In her throne of peeling wood, she would laugh as we parroted away and buried
forks into old porcelain, shadows mimicking us nearby.

A still life of tricycle, plastic ball, and canary cage fades under a sandstorm of darkness. I
hear air hissing out of the balls I never kicked; I hear them flatten among weed thatches, on
courts by the urine of lampposts. Our shadows lay folded in boxes and heave forgotten on

Roses sag their parched petals, wilt a pale red. The swift bites of shears have waned into
jawless nips in the branches. The raspberry tree huddles, casts shade over a rug of pink
muck. Leaves chip to a beetle’s tiptoe. The rabbit cage rusts, a breathless plain with a
tipped bowl. The asthmatic laughter of our dawns dwindles away in a wheeze. The swing
sways into stillness, little as a rung.

A sun waits for a broomstick deflated on the roof. Grandma forgot to shut the windows and
a wind now roams the hallways—a glove that wraps around knobs, slices through
cardboard, rifles through chests. My cousins cannot hear it; neither can my grandmother.

They work. She sleeps.

© The Acentos Review 2014