she is mortal
I. anti-wrinkle eye gels
i think my grandmother is afraid of death;
running from the reality that is chasing her,
she spends her days
behind a mask,
sculpted to hide her age.
so she sits and she stares
at the cracked window of her soul,
slathering her canvas
that has been etched with her stories,
with creams and suffocations
to erase the pain, regret, and sorrow
from her time.
II. youth-activating serum
for the ground
has broken beneath her,
chasing her to the end of her story.
as she breathes in the sweet scent of her youth,
she looks to her past with regret.
surrounded by a collection of
torn photographs and letters,
the rosy hue
slips through her fingers.
III. root cover-up hair dye
“cover up the grey hairs,
cover up the scars,
cover up the wrinkles,
for they have multiplied like the stars.”
but where she sees her end, i see her journey:
the webs of life she so desperately yearns to pluck away,
the collection of cuts and bruises from her years of labor,
the etchings of stories in her skin i’d trace as a child.
IV. anti-aging cream
i wish i could give her
an antidote against the hands of Time,
free her from her prison.
i see her
as she approaches Death’s door,
joining the women before her
in their plight to slip from Death’s fingers.
i long to tie their red strings onto mine
and lengthen their stories.
though perhaps, the gift of life
is its fleetingness;
perhaps it is our mortality that is most beautiful—
beyond our sculpted faces and painted hair,
could it be, what we resent most
is the very epitome of our lives?
but then, her mask cracks,
and i see the grandmother i knew crumble.
and i realize,
she is a prisoner in her own body;
her grey roots have become her cage,
her scars, the records of her crimes,
and her wrinkles, forever the missing key.
i know my grandmother is afraid of death,
but who isn’t?
we may very well forever be the victims
in this perpetual circle of life.
and her legacy, and their legacy,
set to be rewritten once more.
Editors: Cathay L., Claudia S., Joyce P., Erika Y., Danielle C.