Going to America

For a short time in my life, I thought
Dying meant going to America.
With every death in the family,
They would tell me exactly that:
Mamu has gone to America,
Or Nani has gone to America.
And they won’t be with us anymore.
Of course, I also overheard people
Talking about them being “dead”.
In my mind, it was not a confusion:
Dying meant going to America.


But I also observed sometimes,
Going to America was a sad thing.
They did not have telephones there.
And once you entered that place,
You could not come back.
Yet somehow, everyone ended up going there.
I asked about it to my mother, who only smiled
The way she smiles when she looks
At her brother’s garlanded photo
And told me I would not understand it now.


Originally shared with a friend in the Summer of 2014