“Acariciando la muerte,” collage by Luis Gonzalez Palma
Her eyes unblink of death; silver print
Kodalite glows softly, young and knowing.
Smoke rises, eight cakes, a grove of candles lit
and spent. Singed birthday cards say Siempre es grato,
her siempre a sepia crown of thorns and promise
rings. Acariciando scratched like a scar
on gray plaster – embracing, Acariciando
la muerte. Her interrupted life has been stapled
with love to the wall. A plain oak frame,
her bounded casket, encompasses boundless grief
yet also joy. They celebrate her life, reclaim
her eight whole years, happy birthday, and I believe
their embrace, their always. My own deaths unseal
and siempre, acariciando, felicidades, I heal.