Table of Contents



Margarita Cruz



How do I tell you I was raised to believe family
was the only way to save yourself. When my uncle died I had never felt so torn


How do I tell you                                        family
          save yourself.                                          my uncle                     felt
                      my  father                                                rattle   his        casket, spoke
badly               in the hallways           my mother remembers
a blank space                                                                We 
                                   we drank                                                  weeping, 
                         in the streets                                                   
he        knew. My father whispered                                                                            God—
that                                                        ended  . Better                         . 


          I tell you     I                believe family
was the      way                                    my uncle died 
          I watched                                   .           his       casket, 
                    in             a mortuary                               once 
                             in               youth.                the site of the crash.
On that hot summer night,                                                      we witnessed
a man deranged                                                                                        built over      a family 
no longer           whispered                                                        this                                          God—
                                                would have ended       . 


I watched my father break a hole in the wall. He rattled his brother's casket, spoke
badly of him in the hallways of a mortuary my mother remembers as once only being
a blank space on the side of the road in her youth. We drive past the site of the crash.



How                                             family
was the                                                            uncle      I had 
               watched          break                                       his brother       , spoke
         of                                         a                  mother             as once                 being
a                                                                                                                                            crash.
     That                                        drank         away  
                                                                  a home                                      a family 
he        knew.                                                                        Bud Light        was a sign from God—
that                  my uncle would       end                                      this. 


How do           you                     believe 
                             yourself. When                             I had never 
          watched my father break                                                           his brother       , 
 badly      in     ways                my mother remembers                      being
       space on               the road                                                              the site of the crash.
                                         as we drank                                                               we witnessed
a man                          looking for a                                                                   family 
he no longer knew.                                  between sips of Bud Light this                                 God
          is how my uncle              ended up                dead    . 


On that hot summer night, as we drank outside away from the weeping, we witnessed
a man deranged in the streets looking for a home that had been built over and a family 
he no longer knew. My father whispered between sips of Bud Light this was a sign from God—
that this is how my uncle would have ended up. Better dead than



                             I                            believe          
                     to save yourself.        when                                                            torn
apart.   watch                                  the wall. 
              the hallways 
                             the side of the road                                  drive
                                                                    away from the weeping, 
                             in the streets look    for a 
                                                                                                             a sign 
that                                                    would                   end 








Originally a stanza that became a poem itself after playing with the different ways in which memories are held or how they dissolve—the aftermath of memory.