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Essays and Stories

The Abuela Beam

Enrique Flores

Raquel Galbis-Rigol, Abuela, was the formidable spirit heart of our house. Her room was at the very center of the very tall house that my father designed to fit on an impossibly steep hillside in Connecticut.  She would leave her door open to keep track of the comings and goings of our flock and then broadcast her opinions into the open space that connected all six levels at the center of the house.

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Juan Pareja and the Pope

Enrique Flores

“I hear the Pope is in one of his black moods today.”  the man at arms called as we entered St Peter’s square. “We can’t be late,”  

            We were walking through a flock of fat gray pigeons when I spotted the ragged boy soaking his feet in the fountain. He was hungrily examining our entourage. I recognized that look. Like the hawks circling overhead, he’s looking for the easy mark, the fat pigeon that will not put up too much of a fight or give chase. When I was young I too was barefoot and cunning, always searching for the crumb, the loose coin in the pocket— always hungry.

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Sleepwalking to the ‘Woman with the Red Hat’”

Enrique Flores

A number of years ago I was inching along the crowded galleries at the Metropolitan Museum’s Vermeer retrospective feeling unusually blasé in the presence of his rare paintings. The chatty crowd was busy reading the labels, commenting on the value of a shinny gold goblet, or guessing at the meaning of the model’s gesture or enigmatic look. To be honest, the scenarios he staged, always in the same corner of his studio and bathed in cool northern light were never convincing to me.

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Why Raining Sardines.

Enrique Flores

As I walked the streets of Havana, the city where I was born, ghosts whispered by with their satchels of memories and sighs, breathing color and light back into my crystallized exile memories. When the stories began I filled journals with fantastic narratives, randomly absorbed from the fine dust on the streets, and as probable as a shower of sardines. 

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Goya's Dual to The Death with Cudgels

Enrique Flores

    Old man Goya reminds me of the missing dog described in the reward poster: three legs, blind in one eye, missing right ear, broken tail, answers to the name “Lucky.” Goya like Lucky stuck his nose in the wrong place more than once. He survived the accidents of history, cheated the grim reaper numerous times, and swallowed hard in order to ingratiate himself with his masters.

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