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Long Life

by Margarita Engle
It's not just food, exercise, and healthy habits.
My father survives because he paints,
my mother because she sews.

My great-grandmother reached ninety-six
by crocheting one lacy white bedspread
after another, always insisting
that she could not die
until all the intricate lacework
of her tropical life was complete.

My grandmother approached one-hundred-and-four
by looking forward to the next episode of her favorite novela,
a soap opera, the battle of heroes and villains.

If I survive, let it be by waiting
to learn tomorrow's answers
to yesterday's prayers.

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Copyright © 2006 by Margarita Engle. All rights reserved.