By Christiana Castillo
Por Mi Abuela, Elva Castillo
I imagine a sacred heart flying,
carrying the beauty of a soul that was taught and learned,
holding so many places,
past the blocks of Vernor and Fisher Freeway,
the pink walls of La Gloria Bakery,
and the corners of the Honey Bee that have always been.
These spaces still hold your treasures,
these pieces y cosas
that I can no longer hold in my hand,
curved and long like yours.
I see glimpses of you sometimes.
I hold onto these people in whom I see you.
From sparkling ojos in lineas del mercado
y en cosas that cannot speak.
The rosary, meditated on thousands of times,
whose beads carry your whispering prayers.
(I can almost hear you whispering prayers.)
I hold onto the taste of warm tamales y homemade salsa,
savoring a taste you knew before,
and the people before you smiled while
tasting pieces of home
that have been carried to Detroit.
To the words in Spanish you have taught me.
I hold onto the endearment of “Mija,”
said in line at the pharmacy, or to chicas walking with their mamas.
And the babies, who stare wide-eyed in line,
following your every movement,
knowing your presence itself was magic.
I imagine you seeing the stop signs
spray-painted with “ICE” by people
who know fear all too well.
How would you feel
knowing your parents built and expanded
spaces for people as beautiful
as monarch butterflies,
putting their heads on pillows they provided,
And now they want you all gone?
To the time we protected each other,
Lit candles to the virgen.
to the seeds that have stemmed from marigolds and
roses you planted long ago—
de colores that carry you—
the roots lead us to you. ■
Christiana Castillo is a Chicana writer, educator, activist, and urban gardener based out of the greater Detroit area.
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