stories from my great grandparents

Josfinia Renia-Morales de Echeverria

as per latino (a)
what is written
is written
about men.

I know she
had ten bebes
lost six
and carried herself straight y mortena
in la pictura

she somehow lived
to be old
buried most of su familia

maybe hated Lenin
for what his ideology
did with her familia

maybe loved Che
for what his ideology
did for su familia

definitely despised la Estados Unidos de América
for what its ideology
did to her family

she didn’t write the book
she might not even read it
she exists in una pictura
and I think I stole
sus ojos

Buenaventura Echeverria

I see rape in the faces
of my family.

My great great grandparents
are much much

then their son

and my great grand ma
has a high forehead
and dark angry hair
her husband was the French Ambassador
but first, a young judge in a mountain-

people see what
they want you to see
and when the white

Guatemalan government
sent Buenaventura into that highland forest
they expected a young Spanish Judge.
They got a half Indian socialist.

There was a war,
a resistance,
and a General, Ubico,
who rose well to brutality.

As a judge my grandfather
was only to be a nod
official condemnation:
eye for an eye justice.

If a resister escaped
the guard, young, rural himself
must serve the sentence.
This case, for murder (fighting back),
death by firing squad.

But mi abuelito
chose a different path
thought his ideology
could bring Ladino unity.

Years after walking out of the jungle
the general remembered bird song,
and became the new CIA figurehead.

He gave mi familia had 12 hours
a one set of clothes
to escape the Grillia’s twisted fate.

Another year, another coup
and he was back
only do explode
in a US backed bombing

which shook the Government’s marble
to its knees again.


Many more years
and my mother
would meet the granddaughter
of Ubico, that general turned President,
as by chance
over cafe they discussed their legacies.


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