Cocofina of the World

I remember Cocofina of the world

Her back turned to the bedroom’s window

Sipping sunrays into her fatigued body on a cold Bogota afternoon

Eyes shut, chin up, taking deep breaths

A book on her lap, perhaps Teilhard de Chardin or Spinoza

A cup of tea nesting in her weathered hands

At age 24, a baby cuddled in her arms, they had fled Spain’s civil war

But bombs were falling over Paris too,

Another war was waging over Europe

She spoke the Queen’s English

And had conversed with Simone de Beauvoir in perfect French

She married an aristocratic Spanish doctor

Who drove her in his cars, crisscrossing Europe from congress to congress

He delivered keynote speeches and attended fancy dinners

Wearing his lovely Josefina around the neck, a precious medal from a faraway battle

Her beauty was deep, her wisdom unfathomable

She modeled for Benlliure’s sculptures

She kept a bird’s feather in her desk

Constanza would come home, drop her school bag on the floor

Run to grandmother’s side, roll up her sleeve, and close her eyes

Ready to indulge in caresses, the awakening of her adolescent senses

“Keep out of the sun, child your skin will tan”

Grandmother, I am not white, my skin is tanned

You were a rich woman, Cocofina, you lost it all

“It was all material, mi niña”

Grandmother, I am pregnant, Laura said between sobs, foreseeing the scandal

“The child will bring joy,” Cocofina said

How right she was

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