A Love Letter to My Grandma, Jenna Vélez

Jenna Vélez

“A Love Letter From My Grandma” was originally published in Vessel Press (2018). It is also included in Derelict Vol. 1.

...and you were beautiful in a way that transcended the years of heartache and back break, the weathered fool we call time. that same flighty psychopomp who carried you in what i hope was a safe journey.

you were beautiful in a way that was soft brown skin and apples and roses. you were so beautiful you tried to hide it in layers of night, wrapped around you like raven’s wings.

and your beauty was always being chiseled from you, both willingly and not so. it was beauty in the form of that textured green or your red lipstick or the turquoise you liked to wear when you realized you preferred daytime and butterfly wings. you grabbed beauty and you held it in strong hands with long nails that tapped me to attention or to sleep.

you were beautiful in the way you ruled your four-walled kingdom, beauty in the smell of coffee and the sound of your voice singing my name.

your beauty is warm inside my ribcage, a tealight that will one day be a raging blaze. it is in every morning robin, every Spanish word, every beautiful little thing.

you, my wonderful, loving grandma, were a beautiful thing.


Jenna Vélez is an emerging queer Latinx poet from suburban Philadelphia. Her work has been featured or forthcoming in over a dozen literary magazines and journals. She is currently a columnist at Pussy Magic Press and a reader for Awkward Mermaid Lit Mag. She tweets @northernbruja and can be found at jennavelez.weebly.com.

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