Witness Description II
by Héctor Ramírez
I recall his memory of his father shining brown boots in the dark. Father, seated on edge of bed, shining left boot brown. Son, cross-legged on floor. Father hands son right boot. One boot each, one rag each. Brown polish, brown boots, white slick rags, slow swirls, all dark.
As I recall it, the room brightens slow with each slow swirl. Light spreads from swirl of rags, light swirling outward. Outlines of bodies and furniture grow clear. Light spreads, shadows sharpen. Until at last: all visible. The bedspread and pillows are brown, a lighter shade than the boots. The nightstand has a lamp and photographs of children. The carpet needs vacuuming. Outside the bedroom window, night has fallen. Yes, all is visible now. I recall as he remembers. More swirls of polish. His father smiles and nods approval. One hand in the boot, the other polishing in slow swirls. His father gives advice about the importance of taking care of your things. He says, These boots are very old, but you wouldn’t know it because of how I take care of them. I recall his remembering.
As I recall it, the room darkens slow with each slow swirl. Father and son slowly dim. Outlines blur, contours dampen. Shadows spread. Now, father’s hand becomes white rag swirling brown polish onto left boot, there is no left boot. Now, son’s forearm inside right boot vanishes. Son draws hand out of boot-hole, no hand to draw out, no boot-hole. I recall: a slick white rag swirls brown polish onto nothing in the dark.
Composite Sketch II
by Héctor Ramírez
Two possible faces, both remembered both male both Hispanic possibly. One suspect, possibly.
Two possible male Hispanics, face to face, father to son, one suspect possibly. Face to face, two possible male Hispanics, brows touching, eyes closed. Brow to brow, faces grimace, one darker, one lighter, possibly Hispanic, both remembered. Eyes shut, teeth clenched, two possibly Hispanic faces brow to brow. Faces straining, possibly Hispanic, as if in anger or pain. Necks tight, teeth clenched, eyes shut, brow to brow, two faces as if remembering anger or pain. As if straining to remember, two possibly Hispanic faces, brow to brow, clench teeth in anger or pain or both. Both possible faces straining, both brown, one darker, one lighter. Straining to remember, possibly.
Father and son, brow to brow, as if remembering, as if straining to remember, as if in pain or anger or both, as if remembering pain or anger or both, are brown to brown. Eyes wide, mouths agape: sudden cry. Brown forgets brown, face forgets face. Sudden brown burst of two possible faces. Brows melt, browns meld. Eyes, teeth, noses: all meld, all sudden.
One suspect, possibly. One male Hispanic, possibly. One brown swirl of forgotten face.
Héctor Ramírez is a writer and educator living in Boulder, CO. He received his B.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University in 2012 and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he also serves as the assistant director of the CU Boulder Upward Bound program. He reads fiction submissions for Timber Journal and is an event coordinator at VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. He is a co-editor of the poetry anthology Bettering American Poetry (forthcoming from BlazeVox books), and his work appears in or is forthcoming from Apogee, The Café Irreal, Buffalo Almanack, Vannevar, American Book Review, The Poetry Foundation’s Harriet blog, and elsewhere.