After he died everything changed.
Us twelve children left fatherless,
our bank accounts a total mess,
and mother’s cheeks, all tear-streak stained.
But with rolled sleeves she overcame.
She made sure we would stay in school
because “your mother raised no fools.”
And though she never went herself,
she learned what she could so us twelve
could find our futures all well paved.

She washed, she cleaned, she sold ice cream
so, despite not being wealthy,
she could keep us fed and healthy
Our mom taught us to be a team,
to help each other live our dreams.
And though she took the role of dad,
with every chance she got would add
that the All Mighty, the Most High,
could be our Father, our Ally
who’s over everything supreme.

Author's note:

“Antonia” is a Décima or Espinela—a Spanish poetic structure—loosely based on my grandmother's efforts after the death of her husband. A décima’s abbaaccddc rhyme scheme lends itself perfectly for narration. With this issue’s theme of reversal, I chose to alter the rhyme of the last line to emphasise the change and adaptation of the Brito Correa matriarch.