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Lola Naty

The night before I left Manila
My second-oldest cousin sat on her daughter's bed
And told me about our grandmother
Whom I'd never met
She died one day before
I saw the end of my first year

On earth
She told me about how deeply she loved
Her husband, her children,
and all of her children's children,
but before that she told me
about the stories -
not lies
not manipulations
but the true old-fashioned kind -
she wrote and told.
My Lola brought her pen to paper
And wrote stories about the war
and when the world could only see in black-and-white
And peace seemed like a distant fantasy
she told only the truth.
In a grayscale world,
her colours set everyone free.
And something in my heart that night begin to pull
into a space I'd never felt before
I never met my Lola
because she's still alive, inside of me
and her strength, compassion, and bravery
paved the way for me
Today I'll tell stories about a different kind of war
the one in my mind
and my heart
and even though I don't believe
God forbid
I live to tell about World War III
the truth will set me free
and when I can use my hands again
I will liberate you, too

© Mary dela Torre, 2016