Fado: The Missing Key – Joe Amaral

Grandpa Melvin, guide my
wrench hand, to fix the loose discs
on this wretched old plow.

You are buried too deep—
bones infertile to sunlight, soil,
sprinkler and seed. Years ago,

attending community hall festas
I wore an uncomfortable teenage suit.
A kid without accent, who never traveled,

caught red-cheeked sipping vinho verde.
Eating sopas strangely appealed to me:
mint + meat married atop soggy bread.

I barely grasped the Portuguese language
you spoke, nor visited the Azores-
your island antiquity. Today I stole

a grimy mesh hat- Red Top Electric Co.
off your workbench; a mothballed shirt
out your closet. Reliquaries. Patterns.

Maps of cloth embalmed in senses
impelling me into saudade: the root
rousting the sprout      toward

ancestral knowledge.
Joe AmaralJoe Amaral works 48-hour shifts as a paramedic on the central coast of California. His writing has appeared worldwide in awesome places like 3Elements Review, Arcadia Magazine, Crow Hollow 19, The Good Men Project, The Rise Up Review and Writers of the Portuguese Diaspora. Joe won the 2014 Ingrid Reti Literary Award. He enjoys spelunking outdoors with his young family.