Unable to quit to save herself,
five mouths to feed, all minors,
her husband, undocumented,
deported months ago, she still
woke up early to catch the bus and wore her maroon hospital
                                                        uniform, the mask tight on her
                                                        cheeks, a bottle of disinfectant
                                                        in her bag and a packed lunch,
                                                        rosary beads around her neck.

She had seen all and heard too,
a man saying a sighed goodbye
to his fiancée before intubation,
a wife leaving a short note for
her hubby that he could marry again, an exhausted boy making
                                                         a faint sound of his cracked lips,
                                                         for his mom on the phone, a girl
                                                         on oxygen crying before her eyes
                                                         slowly closed, her dad speechless.

A lowly aide, she cleaned beds
and washed skin sores, gloves
always doubled, covered from
head to toe, a thick face shield
worn for double protection, yet she still got the bug like the nurse
                                                          who patted her back and said good
                                                          job and the doctor who told her be
                                                          careful, her last message to her kids
                                                          before ICU, La Virgen de Guadalupe.