Three Cloves of Garlic
The members of the allium
family remained whole,
its Gilroy roots still bonded together,
hidden underneath the dry soil
along the narrow highway
but the Romeros lost a 6-year old,
standing 4ft tall, a chubby
cheeked smile, and as an arid
light breeze blew through
the festive food court,
a grandmother wept
at what might have been
and a mother’s grief spilling
onto the sidewalk outside
the hospital walls.
It is an ancient bulbous vegetable,
easy to grow and requires very little
space, offset now from the darkened
expansive imagination of a 13-year-old dreamer,
a baby’s life now without an older sister,
brushing her long black hair
as Mama peels back the flakey skins,
mincing its flavor into Monday night’s
chicken dinner, now with one ingredient
missing, and Papi sits back, tears
gathering, while futbol, like his mind,
is televised miles and miles away.
Each will multiply in the ground, forming
a new bulb of up to 10 cloves,
as 60 separate rounds spilled out,
maiming him lifeless, while his father
holds his son’s biology degree close
to his heart, remembering
his 25-year-old’s love of humanity
and studying life’s interactions
but now not understanding its hate
for one another.
Love, like garlic,
is eternal, it grows
from individuals, broken
off from a whole.
It tastes enticing, always blended
like flavoring in a recipe and between
each other. It hugs us around our waists
and in about a searing oiled pan.
Its aroma drifting throughout our lives,
remembering those moments,
like the light scent
on our fingers,
Written By: Vincent Calvarese
About the Author: As a writer and visual artist, he found his wings amongst his heroes of Eureka Valley. Using the San Francisco Bay Area as his canvas, he highlights themes of restorative justice in The Final Visit, familial pain in The Flesh of the Father, gun violence in Three Cloves of Garlic, the pharmaceutical crisis in The Clipboard and the gentrifying 7×7 plain in The Slanted Winds Down Guerrero Street. He is a past General and Poetry Editor for Forum Magazine.
Visual Art “Lion Chops” By: Victor Turks
About the Artist: Growing up in San Francisco, Victor Turks attended locale schools. His writing has appeared in the SF Chronicle and the Examiner featured his story about the first-ever Rolling Stones concert in Moscow. Victor presently teaches ESL at City College.