Fate: Four Co-Incidences
By Adolph Adolfo Caso
It is difficult to forget
The image of my aunt
In the back section of the house
Enclosed such that
Entering was easier than exiting
Through the ancient steel-gates,
Confining her to within the walls
And her soul to within her body
With no possibility
Of either one escaping.
Her white hair, disheveled,
Revealed a bald spot to the rear,
Her clothes, in dark shades,
Extended to the ground,
Concealing her feet,
Much as the loose kerchief was ready to hide her face.
Her arm and hand, drawn across her brow,
Covered less the blue in her eyes
Than keeping the light coming from the sun:
“What are you asking, dear nephew?”
She said, in a withdrawn voice.
“Are you hungry? She continued,
Referring those words to me
As she had done so many times
To her son,
Killed by a run-away automobile
In front of our house
Running to the other side of the street.
Why did it happen to him?
Not that it should happen to another mother,
She had reiterated in a previous conversation.
Her heart-wrenching words
Continue to tighten around my own heart
Then, as they do now--
Should have chosen her son
Or that of any other mother
Believing in the same God!
With no words worthy of consolation,
I withdrew in recoil
Into the inner chamber of my psyche
Without the possibility of extirpation
Or the ability to understand
To give a plausible answer
To her, “Why!”
Why not me
Instead of him!
Direct air and ground attacks
In World War Two,
Not to mention a helicopter crash
That should have killed me and fellow-soldiers,
I remember the day,
As a young boy,
When the Americans liberated my village:
Endless columns of tanks and trucks
Rushing tumultuously from West to East,
With thousands of soldiers marching
On both sides of my street,
Receiving loud cheers and flower-offerings
From our young women, and children alike.
In front of the same house of my future cousin,
I suddenly ran to cross the same street,
And no thought in mind
Except for the frightful look,
On the face of Nina
On the other side of the street,
Which became concomitant
With a whiff of air on my left side.
On plunging foreword, face down,
The churning rubber of the truck’s front tire
Amidst the terrifying shouts of my friends.
Nina, eyes full of tears, picked me up
And held my head to her breast
Much as my mother did in quieter times.
In the single instant,
Fate saved my life.
Was it my aunt’s God that wanted me alive
So as to tell this and many other stories
Wherein fate and faith intersect?
On looking at the horizon at sunset,
Reflecting on the existence of our Creator,
“I am of You, not You of me,” he said,
To a consternation
That remains hermetically sealed
In my inner being,
As though I were my aunt--
My eyes are welling up!
On stepping onto the deck,
A sudden thump on the window pane
Caused my eyes to look down;
With its eyes and legs quivering,
This young Robin lay,
Waiting for help.
“God!” I invoked,
As I bent to pick it up.
Its head to one side,
I placed it with its back
In the palm of my left hand,
Its breast toward the sky,
Its feet still twitching,
Uncontrollably closing and opening
And seeing nothing.
I brought my finger to its breast
Caressing its soft feathers
And holding its head up
With its beak aimed toward heaven,
I beseeched him, in a low voice,
To respond to my caresses--
To come back to life.
Not a minute later,
Its anguish ceased.
The two thin legs stopped twitching;
Its eyes closed as the head fell to one side.
“No!” I yelled uncontrollably,
Knowing the futility of my words.
On placing my right hand over its body
As if giving blessing of the Last Rites,
I walked to the red-mulched ground
At the corner of the house;
After making a slight impression on the ground,
I gently placed the Robin in its bed--
Its beak pointing to the sky.
That evening, light from the full moon ablaze,
I spied from the window:
A short beam of light grew behind the Robin’s beak,
In an instant,
It shot forward into the sky
Quickly disappearing into the horizon.
In the morning, I rushed to the corner
And saw no trace of the Robin
Ever having been there!
In a similar incident,
In my garage, sometime ago,
A thump at the window
Revealed the lifeless body
Of a red-neck Hummingbird
On the cement floor.
Never having been so close to one
Was my first great surprise,
To touch one,
Let alone hold one
In the palm of my hand
Even in death!
The sensation of lightness,
The luminosity of colors,
Shimmering as they do
With every slight positional move
Were more than any other experience
In my entire life—
Greater than anything
Including consummated love
Of the highest order between two beings,
Its spirit had entered my body
As light permeates air.
Its body, needing re-generation,
To preserve its soul,
I moved my little finger, caressing the plumage;
My welling tears
Accompanied my anxious words
As a planctus on behalf of Mary
Seeking the Resurrection for her Son.
I was seeking a response
That was not coming.
In holding its long beak,
I moved it to the center
In the direction of the sun,
Beseeching to open its eyes.
On extending my inducing hand,
Suddenly and without warning,
Out of my hand and in the direction of the sun
At the same time,
To my immediate and everlasting joy
And sharing it with you,