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WILLY PALOMO

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PRAYER TO ABUELA TINA

 

don’t let me lie about how hard you worked
Abuela you almost killed yourself
providing for your children i have heard
the legends of the woman who slaughtered
three pigs before the sunrise had them butchered
and packaged by dawn had chicharron by eight
had fritada by ten and pupusas by noon
if only illness was a pig you could tie
by its legs if only you could hang illness
from a tree and slit its throat to stop
its squealing Mama couldn’t even walk
Abuela if she died ¿would it have been
your greatest failure? the infant daughter
who passed poisoned by the warmth of your milk
when your mother tried to take the child
from you you almost did not let her
she is doomed you said she will not survive
rocking Mama in her arms she told you
if your daughter dies we will bury her
but if your daughter survives she is mine
¿how sure were you when you let her take
Mama away? ¿was it hope or despair
that let you surrender your daughter?
¿how grateful were you to see her survive?
¿how hurt were you to lose her anyway?
¿how much must I love someone
to abandon them? ¿what do you do
when they do not return?


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