Ghost of Abuelito

© Kristen Grainger 2020

Miguel my brother, he’s eleven, I am Alma, I am seven, old enough to remember home
The sound of gunfire in the night, an ordinary part of life, at least, the only life I’ve ever known
Miguel refused to cry the day we headed north from Ecuador to the USA
Even when we gave our dog away, even after throwing rocks to make her stay

He says the ghost of Abuelito, comes to him when he’s afraid
His spirit comes down from stars, still smells of coffee and cigars
When he is there Miguel is brave, Abuelito wanted it that way

Across the border things got tense, with our backs against the fence, all those uniforms and guns
Americanos took our mother, one direction, us the other, and we haven’t seen our mother since
Inside, a hundred babies cry, I can’t stop myself from always asking why
When will my mama come and get me, did she go off and forget me, Miguel just takes my hand and sighs

He says the ghost of Abuelito, comes to us when we’re afraid
His spirit comes down from the stars, still smells of coffee and cigars
And when he’s there we will both be brave, Abuelito wanted it that way

He says Abuelito told him, America will always take you in
Her gates are guarded by a goddess, she welcomes you no matter where you’ve been

Minutes to hours, days to weeks, Miguel my brother hardly speaks, bit by bit he’s disappearing
I asked him if he’d say the prayer that would bring Abuelito here, he says Abuelito hard of hearing

Inside, a hundred babies cry, the one that are old enough to talk keep asking why
When will my mama come to get me, did she go off and forget me, I take their tiny hands and lie

I say, the ghosts of Los Abuelos, guard us as we sleep under the moon
Abuelos hate to see us suffer, they’re out searching for our mothers
And they’ll bring our mothers soon
Abuelos hate to see us suffer, they’re out searching for our mothers
And they’ll bring our mothers soon

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