Denny’s Grand Slam Special

By: Tatiana Forero Puerta

When I was little I thought people only died at night.
When death came for her at 4pm
the sun still shone blossoms pink
to velvet opening their tabernacle mouths
towards the sky, petals like hallelujah arms.
A bird on the windowsill stared in
opened its beak silent, unable to sing
the piercing song of our sorrow.

After they rolled her pale body away
there were enough hours left to keep living
like running in a dream where no matter
how fast your legs shuffle, you’re never moving:
we could get in a car, go grocery shopping,
play hide-n-seek scurrying behind the abandoned
cars on the lot off Concord Ave
but none of those things
were any longer real.

We went to Denny’s and ordered
The Grand Slam Special. Aunt Luz
told the waiter to bring extra orange juice
because our mother had just died.

With oversized forks we cut our pancakes
into little pieces without eating them,
watched the butter melt into the crevices of dough
and the syrup create a moat that also held our tears.

Tatiana Forero Puerta’s poetry has appeared in Able Muse, Literary Juice, Flock, Juked, and other publications. She is a 2017 recipient of the Pushcart Prize, a finalist in Brutal Nation Prize for Writers of Color, and a nominee for Best of the Net Anthology. Tatiana’s first full-length poetry collection was awarded finalist by Autumn House, Grayson Books, and Two Sylvias Press. She holds a BA from Stanford and MA from New York University. Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Tatiana now lives and teaches in New York. For more information on her work, visit