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