my immigration status got in the way

I stood there in the kitchen twirling the curly wire in my hand
as I heard your beautiful voice fill my soul through the phone receiver.
Not as often as mom would have liked but still the same.
Having to buy calling cards at the local bodega.
Having to schedule when I would speak to my Abuela.

Telephonically connected for about 5 minutes until the operator started harassing us that it was time to hang up.
5 minutes to tell you I loved you and thought about you all the time.
5 minutes to hear you say, “estoy orgullosa de ti mija
to ask if you received my package.
Enough time to say we were going to see each other soon
that we would finally be able to walk hand in hand down the streets of Colombia
smell the air surrounding your little farm
as our toes dip into the rivers by its bed which are bathed in coffee richness.
See the beautiful land of my ancestry. of your ancestry.
Drink agua panela while you tell me stories about the time you fell climbing a tree
the scab on your knee
the scar encrusted on your hand from the time you burned yourself
I’ll laugh while you tell me embarrassing stories of mami
I’ll listen to the first time you killed a chicken para el sancocho even though I’m totally disgusted
5 minutes to make promises and scenarios
to mend the pain our departure caused
enough time to say things I didn’t believe.
enough time to escape reality.

Standing in a hectic line at Best Buy with mami
she holds a black box that will provide a relief to the distance
that will shorten the space between us caused by the lack of a social security card
a box which encompasses a black logitech webcam that focuses on reuniting separated families.

not having enough tissues
not having enough tears left
after seeing you on the screen
my curly locks reflected in your curly short hair
laugh lines and crows feet imprinted on your face
showing the passage of time
the pain that’s left behind
the wounds you cannot hide

Finding out you had breast cancer was the toughest thing to deal with
or so I thought.
No one told me the grieving would be this painful.
Having to watch your health decline through webcam appointments
and listening to your laugh fade on the phone
will forever be images and sounds imprinted in my heart.

Mom always told me to suck it up when I spoke to you.
That you needed our strength
you needed our love.
To just mention the happy things,
keep the conversation ordinary.

But, every time you told me to please stop sending money and let you die in peace, a piece of me broke inside.
Every time you begged for me to come say goodbye
to please see you one last time
I covered my mouth so you wouldn’t hear me cry.

I’m sorry for turning out to be the granddaughter I didn’t want to be.
I’m sorry for not being there every step of the way
I’m sorry for not being by your side as you faced this

when your soul started getting weary
when your sickness weighed more than any fridge, any elephant or any weight ever lifted
when your precious curls started falling out and spreading all across your pillow and the spaces in between your fingers
I should have been there
to pick up the pieces of your life and glue back together your memories
to comfort you as the medicines took control of your frail existence
to help you walk up and down those same roads we promised to once visit