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motherhood

Love Song for the Mother of No Children

You followed Oleta Esteban every time you saw her. At the grocery store she was buying frozen peas, milk and bread, chicken broth, two bananas. Is this what women ate after they lost their children? Oleta looked as if she scavenged crumbs left for birds, seeds scattered. Brittle, she was, an old child, thin bones beneath yellow skin, suddenly, terribly visible.

You remembered her in a red dress and white sandals, Oleta before Dorrie and Elia died, arms bare, toenails painted. She dropped her sandals in the dark grass to dance with her children barefoot.

Nazi Literature in the Americas

In 1917 she met the rancher and entrepreneur Sebastian Mendiluce, twenty years her senior. Everyone was surprised when they announced their engagement, after only a few months. According to people who knew him at the time, Mendiluce thought little of literature in general and poetry in particular, had no artistic sensibility (although he did occasionally go to the opera), and his conversation was on a par with that of his farmhands and factory workers. He was tall and energetic, but not handsome by any standard. There was, however, no disputing his inexhaustible wealth.

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