Easy for a mother to grasp La Llorona,
despite each mean version in the myth
of her motives for ‘killing’ her children.
Every mother gives her children up.
The child for whom she would give her life
can never be retrieved from the river of time.
Every mother becomes
a Woman in White, endlessly crying.
She is the mother who asks,
*What is sorrow and what is not sorrow?
They are dead who do not weep.
The child divine become the suffering man,
and La Llorona, a living Pietá.
The flowers cry when she passes
and remembers her child
running to bring his Mama a bloom.
*Do not think because she sings
her heart is joyful. One also sings from pain.
If you see her weeping under a tamarind tree
or if you see her singing,
the Banshee ghost, the grieving mother,
know her haunting comes from being haunted.
I, too, wander the riverbanks
and notice every child who reminds me
of the beautiful boy who vanished
into the magnificent man.
The door of my heart always ajar
to the baby, the toddler, the child
who will never again walk through.
Every mother, La Llorona.
But especially those whose children
are ripped from their arms at the border,
and those whose children flee
to seek a better life,
whose sons and daughters ride the Beast Train,
their mothers never knowing
if their children live or die;
not even the tears of La Llorona,
though vast as all the oceans,
can plumb these mothers’ grief.
©Susa Silvermarie 2018
*lyrics of the song
In Lila Downs’ interpretation of the song, she compares the legendary La Llorona’s loss with the Spanish invasion of Mexico, resulting in the demise of indigenous culture. In her 2001 album, Border, Downs dedicated the song to the spirits of Mexican migrants who have died crossing the line.