Her Name is Conchita

photography by Susa Silvermarie

Conchita and Susa

Her name is Conchita.
I don’t know how old she is
or the rest of her name,
though I know about her son Angel,
and once on the Day of the Dead,
went with her to the cemetery to visit him.
We eat ice cream cones today
on the curb of Calle Castellano.
Day before yesterday,
we shared some sweet baby bananas.
Lots of people give her coins or food.
but I think she goes hungry often.

We don’t know each other’s native tongue.
In a language second for each of us,
we speak mostly in the present tense.
Seven years we’ve known each other.
She was still working when we met,
setting up her backloom
every day under the eucalyptus.
She knows I’m from The North.
I know she was born
near Oaxaca in a Triqui village.
But really, we have no idea
of where each other comes from.

Sometimes she and my son David
laugh at each other on my phone screen.
Conchita remembers the visit when
my son brought along his Dad.
Bill bought a blanket from her,
one chosen from the line she used to string
between the tall eucalyptus.
Later, when I showed Conchita
a photo of Bill’s green burial,
her woven blanket
draped over his simple pine box,
she nodded, silent and understanding.

Conchita is more obstinate
than anyone I’ve ever met.
I admire it, and,
sometimes I raise my voice
when she won’t accept
some help she seems to need.
Tomorrow I’ll sit on the curb
and share a coffee with her.
I don’t know how or when
she turned into my best friend here.
Or why it took me
this long to know it.

©Susa Silvermarie 2023

3 Responses to “Her Name is Conchita

  • Michele Skeele
    6 months ago

    Beautiful Susa! Just lovely <3

  • I am all choked up with tears with this one, Susa. Remembering having dinner across the table from Bill when I went back to Milwaukee for the “14” reunion and remembering seeing his memorial on Facebook. I remember a past post on Conchita where you showed photos of her loom and woven blankets hanging on the line. I could only wish to have such a colorful shroud!

  • Barb Ester
    6 months ago

    Very dear Susa…. Precious…