Growing Up Coolie: Memories of my Chino-Cubano Diaspora

Papi’s Breakfast 

He does not speak.
He births his omelet every morning in exactly the same way.
He slivers onions and green bell peppers with cardiothoracic precision.
He slides the pan across our glass top stove to the back burner.
He stretches for the gourd-shaped oil dispenser we bought him for Christmas. He drips the same round puddle every time.
He cracks two eggs.
He stings my eye-tears with fried onions.
He scrapes the metal spoon on our formerly nonstick fry pan.
He sizzles four ham slices in the mix.
He evacuates the eggy contents onto a plate he cannot reach.
He eats.
He abandons the empty plate greasy fork stained towel paper shred.
He sleeps off his diabetic coma in Mary’s gliding chair.
He breathes to televangelists vomiting shit about Jesus through his eyelids.
I suffocate at my keyboard sheathed in a comforting cloak of fried onion stank. His routine lls my heart.

Writing, Non-Fiction

Alex Manuel Pérez-Barry
West New York, NJ, MFA Writing