In 1987, I remember the swift feet and legs of my then young father,
(even though in American standards he was an “old father,”)
I remember him vibrant, strong.
A gazelle on the dancefloor, a clown, moody—like all Latin fathers are, gold crowns on his teeth, glistening in the sun.
He caught the bug whenever a good song played
in the grocery store,
the liquor store,
through a window on his walks of the neighborhood,
a cholo in his wheelchair with a boombox.
His feet, his legs
skid and glid—
a slippery buttery surface
smile wide as he weepahhhhh’d his way through a crowd.
I call my mother today, he answers, fragility on the other end, now it is 2020, and the world is a dream screaming—
“como esta?” I ask—how are you Papi? How are you now in these times?
“Tengo un gran dolor de piernas, no puedo caminar.” —I can’t walk, my legs hurt so much, they hurt so much.
He can’t walk.
I break a million times a million times a million times I break—
I want to give him mine, but mine also ache, I am his daughter after all,
as I age
as I ache
I am his daughter after all
I get scared at this mirror, so I hurry to the kitchen, take my vitamins, listen to his complaints, and mute myself, so that my tears don’t surface in the throat of my words,
I want to believe he’ll be ok,
but death finds us all.