Rigorous
Volume Two, Issue 1



What’s the word for mourning someone you’ve never met?

Michelle Lizet Flores


I’ve never my abuelo in person. Only in photographs, in the guitar his father gave him, in the stories my mother would tell of her childhood in Brooklyn and Miami.

I know a few things about him.

  1. He was born in Havana.
  2. He left as a young man, just before The Revolution.
  3. He met a beautiful woman, a fellow Cuban immigrant and my abuela, and immediately fell in love.
  4. He was a working class artist: a barber by day and musician/singer by night.
  5. He had epilepsy, hated taking medicine for it, and died of a seizure 3 months before I was born.

I remember finding his music and lyrics in his guitar case. It was folded up, blue ink fading into yellow paper.

Can you mourn a person you’ve never met, who was gone before you came to be?


Michelle Lizet Flores: "Being a native Floridian and current resident, I am happy to have returned to the land where trees don’t sleep. A graduate of FSU and NYU creative writing programs, I currently work as a 5th grade reading teacher where I foster the next generation of American writers. I have previously been published in magazines such as Badlands, The Miami Rail, and Noble/Gas QTRLY. Find out more at MichelleLizetFlores.com."




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