Luis Gonzalez, Beloved Father and Husband

Tara Betts

The day my stone was planted here
as a stiff marble shrub no one could
move, Belinda fell on her knees,

hugged it like my shoulders that first
time we danced snug as the dress on
her waist. Belinda, my pretty Azucar.

It’s funny I called her that, and I end
up deep in dirt, 22 with daughters and
Nena Azucar alone because I couldn’t

reach the insulin to thin out the shocks
dancing in my blood. Needles hid,
jeered behind the kitchen drawer

that always got stuck. My eyes fluttered
at the flurry of rainbow specks. Sweat
gave me a new skin, like the first night

with Belinda. Be pretty sugar. I insisted,
promised that I was her living tattoo,
permanent. The kitchen tile I laid turns

faint, then blacker than her inky hair.
She will be home soon. The checkered
floor disappeared while I waited

for the sweet jingling of keys opening
our door. Azucar, my pretty sugar,
please come home soon. She was

only thirty minutes late.