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Yesterday we played until she begged,
Abuelita! Let us stay a minute more!
to lick sticky mango juice off our chins,
and dance like tadpoles in the river.
That night, stars bled black as Papa's coal,
the same color as her eyes in candlelight
burned out before they scraped the wick,
hissing into silence under heavy rain.
Afar, her breath evaporated like light
from the luciérnagas we chased yesterday,
But they were lucky--freer, older, wiser--
with an armor she will never grow.
Metal drops danced over her shoulders,
Wedging deep into earthly crevices,
Ricocheting off Mama's tin pans and
scattering like tears on the dirty floor
As la casita shook hard, her jar tumbled
down away, a swollen waterfall of memory,
of stolen pebbles in pretty cloths untouched,
they lay bare, mocking at my bare feet
I fell with the silence, praying feverishly,
Dios mío, save her. Save me, save...
Leave me. Paz! Paz! Paz! Let me
Sleep by her cold, red hands...
Thunder scrabbles the devil's dice,
Until, in echoes, she is a paper doll,
And I wonder to swollen skies, alone,
Where is the man from the warm altar?
Mañana will bring a million sprouts,
A red field of flower graves in sunlight,
transparent as her angel's ghost, watching
A thousand ants retreat at midnight.