She shined brightly from her little perch in Loisaida.
Her light was so powerful that it shone clear across the Hudson River,
travelling the twists and turns of Route 17,
passing Monticello and the Roscoe Diner,
settling in the Southern Tier.
She illuminated a little house in Endwell, NY.
You could smell the arroz con gandules and
hear the congas and guiros playing.
Her children and her grandchildren were there,
along with their friends that became grandchildren.
Everyone knew her as Abuelita
in this suburban sanctuary
of Puerto Rican Culture.
She would come to visit just to supervise our progress;
making sure we stayed true to traditions.
She brought Barranquitas up
to this small house
by way of Avenue A.
She even learned to make vegan rice pudding
demonstrating some flexibility in that rough exterior.
I can remember watching her roll Pastelillos by hand;
even as a child, I knew I was witnessing something special.
I’m sure her life had many narratives,
the most amazing stories I’ve probably never heard.
But for a kid like me, she was Puerto Rico.
Her love stood as proof that I was Borikeño.
It’s fitting that she passed away in the small community
that she built a home for in the Southern Tier.
Her body will be transported to
Mount Hope Cemetery in Westchester County,
so that she can hold her spot between
Puerto Rico and upstate NY,
continuing to shine across the Hudson River
and through the twists and turns of Route 17.