By Eric Morago
Our grandmother rubbed Aloe Vera on everything—
grew so much of it in her backyard,
you’d think she was stockpiling for an apocalypse.
We’d come to her with cuts and scrapes, bruises and bug bites,
and with all the medical know-how of a gardener
she’d snip a leaf and press its bleeding end to our wound
like she was putting out a cigarette against skin.
Then she would say—as if she’d just sawed a man
in half and put him back together again—all better.
The parlor tricks did not stop there.
She’d knead it into temples if we had a headache.
A sore throat, and we’d be forced to gargle with it.
She even thought it could cure pinkeye—smeared
the goop above our cheekbones like cold-cream.
We always joked if ever we lost an arm or leg,
she’d just slather the bloody stump with it
and expect the limb to reappear.
But years after all our wounds did indeed heal,
when death finally came for her, like the rebel
parents don’t want their daughters dating, but they do,
and doctors said nothing could be done—
the idea was no longer funny.
We asked ourselves, and sometimes still do:
What would it hurt to believe in magic,
to paint a mural of miracle on a body?