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Remembering The Rain

Remembering The Rain


Somewhere between Villanueva and Las Vegas, New Mexico
sits a small ranching village by the name of Sena
it is the birthplace of my grandfather and my maiden name

I have never known the town Sena
I have only been familiar with the stories of the “Ranch”
and would always wonder if the family owned one
why weren’t we richer

Always wondered
who tends the fields,
milks the cows,
trains the horses.

It wasn’t till I was older that I asked about where the Ranch was
that I have been able to piece together a history and geography
that was never written down

In a family of secret keepers
gathering stories can be a difficult task
so I veil my questions in conversations about menial things

I know my grandmother is always
the first to break so I ask her about the river
she always start with “Mija you should’ve seen”    

“The water was so crystal and clear
you could drink it straight from it

your grandpa and tias and would fetch
water from the Pecos twice during the day
and once again at night they’d go with two buckets
at a time each and have to ladle it in to avoid the dirt

one thing I know is you can’t live without water
they used it for baking, laundry, bathing, drinking”

she remembers when it would rain
the river would swell the banks get churned
and so muddy they had to put a dishtowel in a pan
and ring till they could strain the dirt”

she confesses she would make my aunt Roseanne’s
bottles with this water, she’s embarrassed, and doesn’t
want me to tell you this part  

but as soon as I begin to pry about why
she lights up and remembers the vegetables
and says “you should have seen all the crops
chili, tomatoes, onions, and they even had  fruit tress”

“when your grandpa first met my mother
your great  grandmother, he brought her
a trunk-ful of fresh green chilies”

she speaks like she is smiling at him while she recounts this for me
like he is sitting right across from the table her and I know it was
at this moment she fell in love with him

she says she doesn’t know anymore
and apologizes she doesn’t have more to say about the river
I tell her she has given more than I could ever ask for and I got
exactly what I needed



img_0083Jasmine Sena y Cuffee, is a native of Albuquerque’s South Valley and has been an active member of the Albuquerque arts community both as a performance and spoken word artist for more than 10 years. She has hosted a variety of readings and led numerous writing workshops and performances throughout New Mexico and the Western U.S. Jasmine is currently working on her first manuscript of poetry, Where the Arroyos and Train Tracks Meet.