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—
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.