Edited by Julia Rios

Copyedited by Chelle Parker  | Translated by Julia Rios

November 2019

I gather batteries for you in the same way that a farmer gathers his crops. I gather batteries for you like Mami gathered her orchids before the hurricane came. Or, I gather batteries for you, as fast as I can, in the same way that a mother gathers her children to flee the war. I gather light for you. I gather the absence of darkness. I gather my pain. I gather myself. In boxes. For you. And I cannot talk to you and I do not know what batteries you need. So I gather all the ones I can find AA, AAA, C, D…. And I wonder which ones your flashlight uses, and how many flashlights you have. I wonder if your radio works and if you can listen to the news. And if you have music. And if you have enough crosswords to replace your telenovelas. A grandmother should not be in the dark. And I wonder if you still have matches for your candles. And if the Sacred Heart of Jesus will have a candle for you. You, who has lit so many for him…. Your darkness calls me, screams at me, and I cannot see you.

How do I send you the sun in a parcel.

How do I send you light in a USPS Flat Rate Box.

“What size do you need?” they ask me at the post office.

“The biggest one,” I answer. I walk with the boxes to my car, which is full of batteries of all brands and sizes. I open the trunk which also has cans of Spam, fruit, soup…. I wanted to send you food, but you asked me for light. You, the one who never asks and always gives. Light. I put all the batteries I can fit in the box, I put in three flashlights and I also put in my faith to illuminate you. I prepare two boxes instead of one, in case one of the two is lost, so that one of the two will arrive first. And, before closing them, I see that two cans of soup and two cans of fruit will fit. And I put them in. In case you get hungry.

© 2019 Patricia Coral

About the author

Patricia Coral

Patricia Coral was born in Puerto Rico, were she became passionate about words and obtained a MA in Spanish Literature and Linguistics. In 2014 she moved to Houston, where the adventure of writing in a borrowed language began. She is a writer of creative nonfiction and poetry, but frequently her words find their home in between. In 2017, she co-founded Fuente Collective, an organization devoted to experimentation, collaboration, and hybridity in writing and other arts. Her work is published or forthcoming in Crab Fat Magazine, Yellow Chair Review, Women Poets of the Americas, and elsewhere.