Gift of Goodbye

Carlos Gabriel Kelly González


today will be the last time you hang out with Tía Marta:

gathered in the smack of ciruelas con chile a dance

but all index and thumbs tamarindo y limon covered plums;

a favorite of hers shared with you, tu primas their mom.


Mazatlan sketched to the beat of a malecon singing beach

slurps from finger-sucking, and silence when it comes.

your Tía Marta, a body, balancing a century arm in arm gently

catches her breath, leans on your shoulder a head tired from cancer.

family is life divided into centuries, clocks that keep

the same distance; your cousin driving clinging this gift

both bound to the battering one more night of stories.


in this summoning, you banquet in the fragrance of pockets,

in the tombstones’ looming shouts across the night

in this dream of daggers, you realize shoulders are stones we learn

to carry, you learn secrets hide in the clattering of oxygen tanks.

in the heart’s wreckage you salvage lessons of kin

you were told, pearl the heart into the whites of wings

you pull from tomorrow arrows we call prayers.

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