Amor de lejos amor de pendejos

Before my mother’s wedding starts,

she’s on cathedral steps,

cigarette between her teeth as guests arrive

smiling and nodding as she holds the door open.

Her mother is frantic hands,


reaching under handshakes and hello-kisses to

smooth dress wrinkles because white

doesn’t give you anything to hide behind.

All hot breath as she hmphs:

don’t let him out of your sight;

even a good man fucks

when you’re not looking.

And in my mother’s eyes:

a woman

who never learned to hug

without checking over the shoulder.

And in her mother’s eyes:

a futuro already pisado,

a prophecy of her daughter, too

washing collars with red lipstick residue:

an obligation she’ll inherit like a house chore.

There’s no response.

Only a cigarette drag

as my mother leans

against the cathedral wall.

—Penelope M. Alegria '24's column, "Hers," is a series of poems that retell familial stories through a matriarchal lens, exploring the role of women through space and time.