Elegy for Alana

I call Mami everyday
after class and she gives me the rundown:
work was fine, but some of her students
are lazy and annoying,
dad is working late, and they might 
go out this weekend,
some chisme here and there 
about fulanita and other people
I’ve never met.

Today she interrupts her routine 
speech, telling me how she
wishes I could remember
when all my old baby clothes
became yours,
how I traced my small hands 
over her bulging basketball belly, 
over what was you. Over 
and over again, giggling
until I’d finally fall 
asleep. My head resting 
against the skin that 
covered yours.

Then she laughs a little, 
sighs—Ay mi’ja—
and continues to tell me the usual:
that my brother hasn’t called in days, 
that tío is still in the hospital, 
and she ends our call by asking
when I’m coming home.

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