“You have retreated from life,”
Abuelita says between lines
of stitches fired with machine-gun
precision into other people’s clothes.
Absorbed by the task at hand
her words come out matter of fact,
free of judgment, and sprawled
across her worn, floral sofa bed
I nod and reach for a wedding band
that hasn’t been there for years.
We both know she’s right,
but there’s little left to do
in a town where every available
option has gone on permanent holiday,
and all that remains as evidence
for a decade of faithful service
are flimsy discharge papers
slowly yellowing from age.