My Father Remembers Many Legends

Cosme Tuazon Padua
My father remembers many legends, but what he
lives with everyday are the things he sees first hand
with failing eyes, eyes that can still see when my late
mother, his wife, comes to visit him and he sees her
calmly, unsurprised, knowing that this is the way we
live here, to see her walking silently down noisy
steps, or floating like a person riding fired air

through the sky, with her face of slightly parted lips and
wide approaching eyes. Somehow it never occurs
to us to ask what she says or what she does when he
sees her. Does she swing her arms high over her head
in semi-circles that create a brief moment
of clarity, that demonstrate that nothing held so
high in one’s memory can ever fall to the ground,

can ever end? Does she call him by his familiar
name while seated holding a cup at the dining room
table? For us it seems enough that she visits, that
she crosses the vast distance of ghosts to come back
from some vaguely tilted world to be solid, and if
not solid enough to touch, then solid enough
to see. This is not war, this is not flood, earthquake, or

one of the million catastrophes for which my
father waits when a storm approaches or a coup
topples another man’s unbalanced state. This is what
happens after all that, what through his nearly one
hundred years he’s learned. Who are we to question his
prescience, his parsing of everything that is legend?
Through stone, iron, and ice, this is how he has endured.

-Jose Padua

Photo of Cosme T. Padua circa 1935.

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2 responses to “My Father Remembers Many Legends

  1. Mr. Padua is very good. Any translations yet?

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