que manera de perder
The day we call it quits Ana Gabriel’s voice dances around the room. Y llorando con despecho, I undress myself from English and find Tia under my tongue. I search for my heart in a mamajuana bottle and Cuban cigar
and instead stumble across her disbelief.
One hand to her hip,
The other raised to La Virgen de Altagracia.
Mami shakes her head as if to say,
“Wasn’t the last time, supposed to be the last time?”
And before I can explain,
Que me duele como nunca antes,
That you were a rare breed of kindness,
Rocio Durcal y Miriam Hernandez enter the room and complete the holy trinity.
I throw my head back and wail.
Mourn our love like Cibao women do their relatives when they pass before their time,
my knees buckle, my hands kiss the ground,
And I offer my tears as ofrendas para el altar de este amor.
join me and weep,
And I ask them why I tend to fall in love with men more sea than sand.
And my grandmother,
The woman who wished my grandfather gone so many times,
Still buys a bottle of fabuloso and helps me clean my bleeding pride.
When she asks if we’re still friends,
I tell her friendship is an open target
And this break up pulled the trigger.
What we had outlined by chalk,
And the 2,790 miles between New York and Los Angeles.
Pero en fin,
Your laugh was a symphony of yes,
And your eyes wise,
wise like Dominican mothers done raised their daughters in them.
The first time we made love,
before we dressed ourselves with the afternoon,
you revise my writing,
and I realized how wrong I’ve been about romance all this time.
So, even now,
that goodbye rises over Times Square and finds me again in South Central,
Remember that I’d still kiss the feet of all the women who raised you,
That the shore is shore as long as it welcomes the waves back,
pero como dice la canción,
a ver qué encuentras,
y qué te Bendiga Dios.