by Tatiana Forero Puerta
Mami made me dust
the ghost room as she swept
the kitchen downstairs, washed the fruit-
shaped porcelain dishes.
I objected, tearing up and shaken, clutching
to the dust rag, heart pounding. She said,
it builds character of high caliber, camaraderie
with the spirits. You want the dead on your side.
Invisible Mr. Traynor, passed only three weeks,
rocked his wicker chair. I held the
can of Pledge, an old sock rag, and
antagonism for my mother–
She knew I had to wipe
the mirror clean to reflect my
fear up close– I had to dive
into its center, see myself in its pupils.
If I hadn’t, as a kid, dusted the accruements
of the departed, the disheveled
libraries of sepia-toned photographs with
serrated edges and dated newspaper pages;
If I hadn’t disinfected the debris
of the deceased until I swallowed
that innate foreboding for the long-gone,
phobia for the remnants of the lingering,
Then today I may not be able to polish the rust
off the roses—embossed in the bronze of Mami’s urn.
Tatiana Forero Puerta is originally from Bogotà, Colombia. Her pieces have appeared in Assisi Literary Journal, Anamesa and Boxcar Poetry Review. A graduate of Stanford University and NYU, Tatiana currently resides in Manhattan with her dog Brooklyn.
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