Eight months shy of a hundred. And still
filled with the wonderment of a child. My grandmother
is a revelation tumbling in on itself. Songs
and secrets snaked into the creases of her smile.
Her 63-year-old hunch is washing dishes in the sink.
Her knees in 2nd grade tear through the living room like a derailed
Prayer-swollen hips from her wedding photos call up to a rosary, ask for life. And I am molded clay from the hands with which she now holds
my chubby face. I am small
¡Hay, mi hijito! (Oh, my dear son!) She squeals, ¡Tan bello! (So
These are the words she uses to anchor each day, and I am jealous
of how she does.
Coursing through her bones, the abandon with which she soaks it all
Her face is a yawning earthquake of tremor and pulse, her hands the
tectonic plates of her body’s fierce hope. Her head stuttering out music
as it tries to focus on just one thing.
Now she takes in my sister, awkward middle school face of pock-
marked acne in her hands,
¡Hay, mi hijita! (Oh, my dear daughter!) ¡Tan bella! (So beautiful!)
My sister smiles. She is beautiful for the first time in her life. Wears a
of blushing cheeks.
Mi hijito—my dear child. Tan bello—so beautiful.
In a world of envy-fueled violence, where hate explodes out of our scars
The lessened versions of ourselves spreading like wildfire.
My grandmother is a revelation tumbling in on itself. A repeating
gospel on loop.
Where each person she meets is a child. Returns the miracle and
amazement we left in our Velcro shoes, awakens our bodies with the
suddenness of her eyes. Everything is beautiful. Keloid and awkward is
beautiful. Adolescent girls are beautiful. Men, for the
first time, can be called beautiful. Her hands reach for the sun as
though it were food, a cloud as we walk. She shakes, awed by the
emerald hue of fresh grass hugging her apartment building like jealous,
My grandmother is the ripest hallelujah. Where everyone is a child. Is a
daughter. A dear son. Has a story and roots and branches twisting
through the sterile bars of a subway car. Picking it up. Where every
object, moment, every thing in this sparkling gasp of an earth is not just beautiful.
It is more than beautiful. It is too beautiful. It is so beautiful.
© Carlos Andrés Gómez. Used with permission.