Mi Madre

Apr 07, 2014 | Updated Jun 05, 2014

You ride

the silent subway

from Spanish Harlem to the Bronx at 4 a.m.

fists pound on the empty seat beside you

face-hardened like a solider in combat

lips locked tight

Pitch-dark windows stare back into your face of acrimony

restless sighs, you say

I odio mi trabajo


homeless man watch

as you highlight scriptures

psalm 23

clutch your crucifix

towards your remaining feeble breast

head shaved


you're high

too delirious to speak

too at peace with worry for mere laughter

too broken to fly on December 24th

Rigid winter morning

calves swollen

lips chapped

body recovering from a night spent vomiting

listening to Celia Cruz

Quimbara quimbara quma quimbambá Quimbara quimbara quma quimbambá

we drank ourselves under the table

on East 137 street

sons and daughter fight for space on the tenth floor

Papi breaks up the fight

Blood pressure heightens

your hands

too sore to grab any railings,

too painful to conquer winter

mourning on your arthritis

arrive at the factory on Commerce Ave.

greeted by hombres

Mi Madre

they do not appreciate you