The glossiness of the dark wooden casket reflected my teary-eyed face. I have never cried so much in my life, and I’ve never been so devasted by a death before. Your death was unexpected, not that death is ever really expected…it was an accident.
My mom squeezed my shoulder when she touched the smooth surface of the box in which your body lied. Your sister, your parents, and the rest of your family were all there, desperately trying to connect with you through this touch. Most of us didn’t get to see you one last time before we buried you…because it was an accident. It was probably better that the only memories I have of you are from when you were alive anyway.
My parents did see you in the critical condition you were in though: they were the first ones at the hospital. You wouldn’t have known that though because according to the doctors, you were brain-dead upon impact. My mom said she had clutched your feet when you were lying there, in the hospital bed. Now, we all touch the wooden casket, seeking some form of relief from it. Trying to connect with you.
As my family drove through mountainous farmland on the winding roads to where your body lies, I reflected on how you would have felt about the location. You hated the suburbs, let alone the rural atmosphere of Virginia. You had made it clear that you aspired to be in the city since your decision to attend Pittsburg University, and then later by moving to Jersey City and then to Newark. You were getting closer and closer to Manhattan, but you never had the chance move across the Hudson River.
When my dad parked the car and we ambled out, the entire family encircled your gravestone. It was beautifully engraved, and your mom ensured that you had fresh flowers daily. We prayed, and then we cried, and then we laughed…reminiscing about our lives with you. Honored to have gotten to know you. By connecting with each other about the past, we reconnected with you.
I walked around to the back of the gravestone and noticed the depiction of the city skyline. I remember that I thought…that it looked like the city crossed the Hudson River to come to you.
Happy 27th birthday.
© 2018 Vic Romero
All Rights Reserved.
Of a forlorn face
In the grimy window
Of the bus as it creaks along.
I try my hardest to look beyond it
To look at the landscape as we drive along
But the grimy windows don’t seem to permit it.
The white smoke escapes my lips
While black tar enters my lungs
I sigh, in bliss
My head buzzing and ears ringing
Enjoying the silence from the cold evening
Later, I reenter the party
Mingle and mix with everybody
And smile because for this one night,
I’m not lonely
Even later, there are
Dark bedrooms and
Faceless bodies with
Forgettable names but
The absence of a heartbeat.
In the form of a woman
Caramel skin and dark,
A soft smile when her lips say my name
The golden sunlight-
An unwelcome guest
Shines through the cracks
Of the closed blinds
Seeping through the thin skin
Of my eyelids
Making itself known
The sunlight illuminates the caramel skin
Of the woman wrapped in the sheets
Entangled in my limbs
Eventually, I succumb to its insistence
That I arise
I disentangle my limbs and
I welcome the sun
To this new day
Stretching my arms over my body
Then folding over my feet
Bowing in respect
To be alive
© 2018 Vic Romero
All rights reserved.
I’m having surgery again tomorrow, but unlike last time, I’m not afraid because I already know what to expect. Nonetheless, I’m not particularly thrilled about it, although it will be better to go through the surgery than to avoid it.
The surgery I had before, and the one that I’m having again, isn’t super serious; it’s purely a dermal procedure to ensure that I don’t have skin cancer and that I don’t develop it from what’s been considered atypical. Despite this, the fact that I have to get surgery “to be safe” and “to check” for these things has confronted me with mortality more than before. Then, a month after my first surgery, my cousin was killed, which was devastating in itself while also further contributing to these thoughts about mortality.
I hope your last emotion wasn’t fear.
Did you see it coming?
I hope your last sight wasn’t the glaring headlights.
Did you run?
I hope your last touch wasn’t the hard metal
Nor the rough pavement against your cheek
I hope the last thing you heard wasn’t the roar of the engine
Nor your roommate shrilly screaming your name.
I hope your last taste wasn’t the blood that flooded your mouth.
Did it choke you?
I hope your last smell wasn’t the burning rubber when the truck left you behind
Did you suffer?
I hope you didn’t.
© 2016 Vic Romero
My cousin was killed crossing the street on 3 September 2016.
Twenty years with you doesn’t feel like enough time, but I’m grateful to at least have that. Chris, thank you for being my big sister, I love you. RIP.