What Does It Cost You?

“¿Mijita, que te cuesta?

What does it cost you?”

Grandma forces her eyebrows

into a plunging V so sharp

I think it’s going to rip

off the top of her nose.


“My dignity!”


I stand feet raked across

her linoleum floor,

a bull ready to charge,

except I’m wearing the red reboso.

I am the target.


“That’s not expensive!

You know what’s expensive!?

Your spirit.” Her eyes blink hard.

I can almost hear the eyelids

slap her eyelashes back

into the upward position.


She wins the argument

because she holds a wisdom

I am too young to comprehend.


An apology to my cousin

will cost me my dignity.

I didn’t do anything wrong.

My grandmother is sure

if I don’t apologize,

it will cost my spirit.


She is right.


It takes three decades for me

to comprehend forgiveness

is not for the faint of heart;

it’s a pebble you skip across

a pond and watch ripples

crash into each other disrupting

the calm as the pond welcomes a new order.


Cover photo credit: Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros
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