Elena, Helen, these names are one and the same.
The bright one, the torchlight, the sun, is their name.
A star in the sea reflected from the sky
with enough love to share from morning ‘til night.
A time to celebrate healing converges in a desert place,
coincidental seating means more than mere positions and faces.
One with a boat named Elena sits with one whose mom was named Helen,
randomly, so it seems, seated with another party of three.
They enjoy the tricks and flips from Calvin, their Benihana chef,
and at the meal’s end the staff brings a special cake to their table.
She blows out the candle, so serenely it seems,
then turns for a minute to engage those on her left.
Elena is fifty today, we celebrate her common milestone of life,
but the plot thickens quickly with the next words that she speaks,
she is a survivor of breast cancer, she says with her arm around her son,
and if that isn’t enough she shows us her recent brain surgery scar.
These admissions are the badges of merit for a soul who has traveled so far
from Santiago in Chile to California in the United States of America.
But the distance on this Earth is nothing compared to the journey
she’s traveled through her suffering to survive with such bravery.
But it was a peaceful lady that we met, content with her fate,
who asked us to celebrate her birthday with her on this date.
We know that the common bond forged with Elena will always remain,
for her courage and beauty showed us how to rise above adversity with grace.