Family Business by Larissa Mota

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Family Business

My grandfather has taken to haunting
the corridors of his own house.
If it weren’t for the heaviness of his feet,
I’d probably think him an apparition,
for the stricken look in his eyes.

Grandmother hasn’t spoken since June,
has got everybody wondering
whether or not she’s still in there.
They all call her name in pity,
but it’s my mother who is getting thinner,
who sometimes seems to see through us.

I had figured death would be quicker,
not this lazy thing that sits down for tea.
It wants honey, but there’s no sweetness
left amid the dust and salt.
Even the milk has turned sour, now,
even the way mom looks at grandpa.

Life plays tricks like this, I suppose,
adds just the right amount of doubt
to have us glancing at each other.
We are tired enough to put blame
where it isn’t due, where it hurts.

The family owes devotion,
so the sickbed swims with faces
no one has seen in a decade,
just the right excuses to start a fight.

The family will ruin
whatever it gets its hands on.

In the tragedy of raised voices
spitting remorse behind their grudges,
I am the one who holds her hand,
who decides to sing her a song, instead.
Between it all, she must at least
know that we are here.

Grandma must know, right?
She must know that
we will love her to death.

Larissa Mota

Larissa Mota is a Brazilian aspiring writer, currently studying foreign languages applied to international affairs. She can be reached at her personal blog: