Andrea Blancas Beltran
It’s been eight days and you’re still
dead. Now, nine days, and you’re still dead.
What promise lies in repetition?
Each day the number grows—still dead.
What good is form but to make a grave?
Your name lives on paper, but you’re still (dead).
Repetition is insistence, a method
I must practice. Write it. Still dead.
Always learn from the women, Mija, you said.
But I didn’t learn how to live with you dead.
We carry our dead with us, Mija, you said.
Here, a broken scale, now with you dead.
The language es pesado in English or Spanish. Andrea, go
to bed. Tomorrow, the woman of your heart is still dead.
In the final sequence of Sea and Fog Etel Adnan writes: “The coffin went / down / the alley, / death is simply the / end of / meaning.” And then a song arrives unraveling what one knows or thinks they understand about the difference between death and life. Not too long ago, I was entering the on-ramp of 281S in San Antonio (El Paso is home) and Eydie Gorme y Los Panchos (a favorite of my grandmother) began to play. I raised the volume and was struck by the feeling that I was but a short car ride away from lunch with my grandma and not almost two years of life in pan dulce (pandemic) time. My grandmother Enriqueta Contreras Baeza died after a long illness (Alzheimer’s) in November 2019. Most days, I feel as if she is still alive. Most days I realize I may never really come to terms with her death. Art is a way of trying to keep her—her memory—on this earth with me.
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About the Author
Andrea Blancas Beltran is from El Paso, Texas. Her work has been selected for publication in Poem-A-Day, The Offing, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Poetry Northwest, Scalawag, and others. You can find her @drebelle.