Olga Montenegro


Your body did not have time to rot
I stopped that from happening when I requested
That your body be set on fire.
You always loved the roaring of the winter flames
In the living room that kept your cancer ridden body
From shivering.

Your hair was not tangled in knots like you were afraid it would be –
The braids were softly woven into a crown genetic glory and
I wore mine in the same way, but lower as a sign of respect.

Red specks mixed with the gold. A genetic inheritance from you.

You and I spent those first hours after your death together -
A silence I will never be able to explain to foreign ears that cannot
Understand that love is much deeper than the words we speak
And the actions we do.
Love is in the space between who we are and where we came from.

An umbilical cord, quiet cacophony of memories no one
needs to witness.

Your body was set ablaze at noon and when they returned you,
I did not recognize you in that urn. I refuse to make this your final home.

Your hair that used to hide me like a curtain
With those bony fingers that would cast spells on my unruly hair:
Queen Medb will have a go at you if you do not quiet down.
The warmth of those arms –
give me a cwtch – you would repeat over and over
Like we would never hold each again.

I hold what is left of you, trying to find you. Trying to feel you somehow.
I untangle my wild hair from the braids, letting it settle on my shoulders with no master.

For a moment, I feel your fingers running through my tresses and I weep when I realize it is the wind coming from the south. A wail from our Banshee, she who keens. Weeping, weeping, weeping like a mad mare.

You are now everywhere, but I cannot hold you.

I can almost hear the word cwtch in the wind, but it gets tongue-tied and settles in my hair.

About the Author

Olga Montenegro is a graduate student at Bridgewater State University, Massachusetts. She has previously published with No Contact Literary.