My hands held her face as she died,
and her name changed becoming
as unknowable as the language used
to give it life. I remember her brown hair
sprinkled with grey. It seemed to sag
when she left me. I don’t know how God
chose the moment of her death.
Closing her eyes, I confirmed her life
by calling, “Patsy.” Already she was in transit
crossing the border without a passport.
No one could hurt her with names like puta, Paco,
or torture her with causeless hate
tossed like insults from their eyes.
Only she and God know her new identity.
When she passed her body went limp,
her eyes flicked open, and her lips
impersonated a smile. Looking at her,
it didn’t matter that somewhere a sunset
turned a sandstone cliff into a kaleidoscope
of gold, orange, red, brown, and shale
before the colors faded into night.
In dreams I hold Patsy’s face and see her eyes
veiled by the velvet dusk of her hair.