“Swiving is the first dance I learned, before the tango, before the mambo, before the twist, before the mashed potato, before the waltz,” Imelda tried to say, but inhaled wrong and laughed laughed laughed until the end of WWII with GI Joe and all his cousins.

Imelda liked a jolly good roll in the hay with GI Joes who came from the U.S. and spent time with her aunties and her uncles, and Manila was home to Imelda, who was going to school in Philadelphia after the war.

It was springtime in Pennsyvania and Imelda was crying in the arms of Angus Cormac, the Irish-Filipino son of a butcher who wanted to marry Imelda and take her to Allentown. She cried because she saw herself sitting in a blood stained apron wrapping haunches and hocks in newspaper and this is not what Severo had promised when he took her in four years ago, safely away from the meat district. The meat district. Imelda knew that the meaning of those words had changed, and she held that change against her body, sharp and ready to cut clean and deep. Severo, of course, was dead by the time she understood – young, still pretty, and dead of a knife wound. “My only thanks was that the knife was not mine,” Imelda said at the Severo’s wake. “I do not come to praise Severo, but to bury him. I bury Severo in my memory, and in yours, and that is the end of that. There is no more to tell.” She set the knife down, turned her back on them, and left the room.

(10-minute quickwrite – “swiving” a preferred  verb of  Mary’s)


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