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The Light

It was the shimmering light,

the glow of the lightbulb

in my cousin’s room

that lit up the dark ceiling at night.

Like a full moon at midnight

In the room I was staying in

with my little sister at my aunt’s house

as my little cousin was born.


It was a scorching hot summer day in the month of July

When my mom was in the delivery room with my aunt

As they welcomed in my little cousin

Jumping for joy, my aunt’s first daughter

She now had her pair, a daughter and a son

My parents now had a goddaughter

My sister and I now had another little sister

We knew as soon as we laid our eyes on her

That it was love at first sight

How could one small person be so perfect

We both asked ourselves


She was so small

All we could think of was how fragile she was

Yet so cute and irresistible

We wanted to spend every moment we had with her

And every moment we spent with her we cherished


It was winter time, flu season

People spreading germs around like Christmas cheer

But not everyone is lucky enough to stay healthy


We spent the night at my aunts again

In the same room with the light bulb that lit up the entire ceiling at night

Like a full moon at midnight

The only difference was we didn’t really know what was going on this time

No one was being born

But yet we were sleeping over often

during this month of March 2008.

Our parents informed us that staying at my aunts was necessary,

But what could it be?

What we didn’t know couldn’t hurt us.


We were told by our parents that they were with our aunt and uncle

but not in town.

They were away at a hospital

with our recently born cousin,

my parent’s goddaughter.


They had told us she was sick

and my uncle and aunt were not okay alone,

My parents were going away for a couple of days

to help and support them.

During this time something was wrong

but we were assured that my cousin would be okay and we would see her again,

but all we could think about was her small body tackling something so vicious


How would her body handle it?

She was so small, only eight months old.

And if she was okay, why was she in Stanford?

Why wasn’t she in our local hospital?

Or even the children’s hospital?

Why were multiple tests being run on her?

Did the doctors know what was going on with her?

Did we even know what was really going on with her?

I wish we could say what we didn’t know couldn’t hurt us


One night in the month of March my sister and I laid awake

In our cousins room weeping

With the lightbulb that lit up the entire ceiling

We watched the lightbulb flicker,

Slowly losing light

My sister and I both scared

Why was it not shining bright

And that was the moment the lightbulb fell to the ground

Crashing into shreds, scattering all over the room

Frightened we sprinted to our aunts room

only to find her and my uncle trembling,

to the news that they were coming back home

empty handed.




Alejandra Velazquez

Poetry Author

Alejandra Velazquez, a one-time competitive cheerleader who won a national title, is currently a junior at UC Merced who enjoys spending free time coaching cheerleading. After graduation, Alejandra plans to pursue a as career as a physician assistant.