para ti

porque también somos lo que hemos perdido

porque mi mama has kept every note my father

has given her

every november 1st

teases the whispers out of each bouquet

to remind herself that she has given up on the man

but not on the roses


flowers wear honesty

better than a husband ever could

so, no, mija,

ni vale enamorarte

tell me what good it does

to reread every love letter

only to find mistakes

and misspelled affection

tell me what good it does

to allow someone to bury themselves into you

tell me how it feels

to be made a wound


is this what you wanted?       
to make yourself smaller until your spine becomes a rosary bead
this will not bring you closer to heaven
have you learned nothing?

we are still everything we have lost

the burdens stitch themselves to the seams of our skin

making a home for themselves in the cemetery

you carry under your tongue

do you keep track of all the names that have died in your mouth?

(my mouth does more than grieve

i remember this every time i sound you out

your name settles into a harmony

dancing between my ribs

without interrupting my breathing)

is this what you wanted?

        sí, ma.