Before Night Falls

to those who are willing
to climb them.

I do not remember
when I was born.

But, when I was three
months old,

my mother returned
to my grandparents' home

with me as the proof
of her failure.

The splendor of my childhood
was unique,

because of its absolute poverty,
and absolute freedom...

out in the open,
surrounded by trees,
animals, and people

who were indifferent
toward me.

Grandmother: Reinaldo!
Niño, apúrate con esa agua,
Dios mío!

Mira que hay que esperar
en esta casa!

My early life was surrounded
by a room full of unhappy women

who were all bossed around
by my grandmother,

the heart of the house,
the only woman I ever saw
who peed standing up

and talked to God
at the same time.

My mother was a very beautiful
and very lonely woman.

She had only known one man,
my father,

and had enjoyed the pleasures
of love for only a few months

and then, gave that all up
for the rest of her life,

creating in her
a great sense of frustration.