The absence of callused hands, ridged-thumbs

Who diligently, tenderly nursed this

Family’s pulse is felt through the loose air.

Your limbs should be in that space next to me,

Encompassing that air. Now there’s no one.

No one to silence anger with a smile

Or to speak words of wisdom; those words we

So need to hear now. Who will pray for us?

Who will remind us to see good in all?

Who will give that beggar money or bread

To the security guard or hope to

The cashier who wants to go back to school?

The echo of your laughter haunts these walls.

I see your wrinkled eyes at every turn,

And the lost eyes of daughters left behind.

It has been a year and five months, and yet

I’m back on your lap, playing games with our

Hands. My entwined fingers pricked one by one while

You chant: pico pico, mando rico…

I look at the words you wrote for my

15th birthday that hang on my wall. With

Derroche de amor, I write this poem

For you now, trying to manipulate

This outpour of words. But they’re not enough.

I can only hope I’m making you proud.

-Paola Crespo ©2013


“Abu” will be featured in my collection Fragments of a Life Incomplete


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