Fodder by Fernando Albert Salinas

The details in this one by Fernando Albert Salinas grip me, and the truth of it humbles me. I’m not sure that any introduction will do this piece justice.


Photo Courtesy Brian Landis

Fernando Albert Salinas

Fodder

Yesterday morning, the boy cupped corn dough grit in the soft of his small palm, sustaining golden brown, damp as that December morning, days away from Christmas Eve to be spent anxious for dawn, to wrap butter in thick flour tortillas, strip corn husks from meat filled masa, unwrap gifts he hopes are not made of cloth scraps grandma’s sewn.

Grandpa was grey, cold and sweat under blankets. Oblivious of his grandson’s kitchen contribution to the work of his wife and daughters, the Sports page trembled in his hands. A fly sat on the brim of his mug—crusted swatter at the edge of the table left unswung.

Last night the boy crept on linoleum floors glistening with the corpulent oily brown of infestation—listened to the jitter of the cucaracha at light switch. A bold few glared from counter tops, wiry antenna flickered defiantly until their extermination echoed from greasy walls—the popping crunch under bedtime chanclas.

This morning, the boy examines something just as black and smooth in his tamale as his grandpa’s eyes staring into what the boy cannot yet see, the smudge of ink on the discarded Times, and the empty chair beside him. The kitchen is quiet while he plucks last night’s casualties from his breakfast.


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