Death Stole Her Away



I looked death in the face once.

He tried to pretend to be my Abuelita,

but I wasn’t fooled. Death had taken

hold of this woman who wasn’t afraid

to fight for her freedom and turned her

into a woman who couldn’t even recognize


They say it started in her lungs, 

but I know Death didn’t start there. He

started in her mind. Forcing her to experience

Alzheimer’s and dementia. He broke down a

woman who refused to let even Castro scare her.

This woman who for the safety of my grandma—

her daughter—

took her from a country in the throes

of revolution no matter the cost.

She stepped into the boat not knowing what

she’d face in America.

Death took the mind that made her determined

enough to do what needed to be done.

He used it as a foothold into her body.

So the doctors believed that it all started in her lungs,

but I know that they are wrong.

Death made her suffer before he decided 

to end it all. He made her watch the world, 

trapped in a mind that wouldn’t work. Then he took

her lungs. Then he took the rest of her,

but she stopped being my Abuelita long before.

She lost her ability to command a room long before.

I lost my Abuelita to Death and it wasn’t a quick loss.

I lost her to a monster and he took her piece by piece.



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