Mi Tía Genoveva
la más bonita de todas 
never married.
I never cared to know
why this was so.
I was just grateful
she was always there
to hold us, muy fuerte.
Her long, thin arms
warmed us when the North wind
wheezed, like an old man,
through the thin walls
of our house in Mexico.
Her gentle hands
turned into feathers
and tickled our bellies
when the drums of fear
beat frantically in our chests
because our parents’ love
had given birth to a tornado
that sent the furniture flying
across the room and broke the portraits
of my mother in her wedding dress.
Her words turned into powdered sugar
as fine as the crystals she put
under our tongues to sweeten
the bitter taste of our salty tears.
When the fight was over,
and the angry silence
in that house was deafening,
her songs had wings.
They were pajaritos, flying
overhead, soaring with harmony,
divinely calm.