I am merging with the cemetery tree.
This union began around two weeks ago, when I first stood beside it for shade and placed a hand on its bark, the wood eventually shaping itself around my hand.
Each day more and more of my hand is surrounded by the tree’s cracked skin, sinking into its aging insides, becoming more and more of a challenge to tug out.
Relatives on both sides of the border are looking out for me, saying I should take a break from visiting Mami’s grave, saying I should be careful when crossing, saying I should consider her feelings, saying she wouldn’t want me to join her so soon even though she took off without thinking about how I would feel.
I know they’re right.
I know Mami would wake from her grave and yell at me if it were possible.
But driving back and forth, from San Antonio to Reynosa, four hours there, four hours back, from my work to her, is exhausting. It is easier to simply stay put in one place, to choose a ground to remain faithful to.
When I was a child, I used to say I would love her forever and ever, would take her with me wherever I went, would show her the world away from the RGV as a way of paying back all those years of dealing with my shit. Instead, I escaped the Mexicano-heavy valley, the racism and machismo and homophobia and heterosexism and misogyny and everything else Mami was raised with and tried to ingrain in me.
I left Mami behind as well, too tired to continue ignoring our political differences, her quiet denial of my non-heterosexuality. In return, she left behind her hard-earned papers and drove back to México to join her dead mother.
So here I am now, wedging myself into the tree overlooking her grave, wondering how much longer until my entire body fuses with the trunk. At the rate it’s going, I suspect it will be at least two weeks before half of my face is covered. Maybe by May I’ll be fully inside the tree, starving myself to sleep before finally seeing her again and picking up where we left off—
Te amo mucho, hija.
Yo también te amo, Mami.