Yo, La Calavera (I, The Skeleton)

I know no warmth from days past

It was the first to go

Then next was my flesh and blood until all

That's left is teeth and bone

In this sweet earth


When these stones become decrepit

My name shall be the last

To vanish from your tongue and from your mind


This cold trickle down my stomach

Curling darkness inside

My heart like sand and toes frozen solid

There’s a pit with my name

At the bottom


It matters not if I was brown

Or pale or rich or poor

A wise man said we would all become bone


So give me your tearful goodbyes

Your sweet cajeta 

And scented candles

Your marigold petals

And blue cloths like flags


Strum the guitar and mourn today

A million yesterdays

Mean nothing to death

A million tomorrows

Are nothing to us



Uncork the glass soda bottles

Taste the ample mangos and

Drink the spicy pop

Of jamaica


Give me your treasured sweets and bread

Your rich chocolates

The ones Abuela

Used to send us when we

Were just simple kids


Sound the drums to the beatings of hearts

Faraway and blow the flutes

Go and spread your wings

Ángeles y demonios

Take the children’s hand

And see me gone


Watch the fig trees uprooted and slain

Build the great house on their graves

Tear down everything

Kill the plants so that only

You can be the most

Lovely thing around these parts

The most beautiful

In the village


So give me your sad corridos

Your dying roses

The sand in your shoes

Your ugly marks shaped

By the leather belt

And silver buckle


And give me your tears and your pain

Your drawings from that

Poor little notebook

You loved and you lost



Give me your words and your tall trees

Your avocados

Fresh and sliced to eat

All the walnuts you

Gathered in your shirt

After they tumbled

From weary branches


And give me your yarn and your needles

Roses sewn with red and green

The yellowed cloth crisp

With age of years still



Put me to the sweet earth and give me

Your goodbyes and promises

True and false


Give me your goodbyes and all your love

Your memories of grief and

Our legacy of happiness

I may be dead but never did I

Forget to love you


So don’t forget me so quickly

Don’t forget my name

Yo, la calavera, sigo aqui

I, the skeleton, am still here

This poem is about: 
My family
My country


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