You called me brave
and I smiled to myself, thrilled
at the thought of some self
of mine as a protector
wielding a bow, all grace.
I stood with my feet apart
clawed my way up
out of myself
chills spread like flames over my shoulders
and faced this straight on.
I felt this infinite feeling
in the last second, elated
held tight to the fear in my heart.
I traded every weapon for a shield
and started down the mountainside
when the clouds give way to sky
and stars shake off their bright disguises
I hope you can see them.
Loretta knew mountains would clash tonight. She stepped into her living room, startled to see her
guardian, Kenneth, leaning on her two-seater couch, his fingers drumming on his lap. He stood
up the moment he sniffed her presence.
“Loretta, I hope you know it's tonight?” he said, bowing as though she were some kind of
royalty. Although she was. But she loathed it when it was shoved in her face.
“I know. I wish I could avoid it or simply prevent it from happening.” her voice lacked the
fervency she'd rather it held.
Kenneth's regard conformed. “I know you wish that, but if you'd obeyed your parents, everything
shouldn't have been the way it is right now.”
She shrugged, knew he meant well, but still disregarded him. What was the need to have a third
party constantly poking their nose in her business in the name of checking up? She seethed as
she walked, languid, to the nearest couch on which she slumped.
The past haunted her, why the need to return to it to rewrite it came up. The need to amend the
mistake she made. She just couldn't wrap her head around why her parents had assigned Kenneth
to her when she could take care of herself. Not exactly power-wise, she knew, as she had no
power, the topmost chance to leave her vulnerable to the force searching for her. Her refusal to
complete the ritual into womanhood and fully activate her power had landed her in this pitiable
situation and she had to change it.
Content warning: allusions to domestic abuse
The screeches we heard at night were pumas, barn owls, and El Sibador. They came when
the white men came.
My mamá spoke of the Cihuateteo, luring us westward when we did not come home
before the sun set. Yamilex scared me with tales of La Llorona when I would stray too close to
the waters of the river in the basin, but I know she was more concerned with the Sánchez
Navarro men seeing me and becoming too friendly.
I chose to become too friendly with one of them before she could catch me, and we were
married in the summer of 1935, when I was seventeen years old. He was twenty-four, and a
On the night before my wedding, a white man's wedding, my cousin Citlali told me I
shouldn't have done it. Yamilex scolded her with her eyes, thinking I wasn't watching, but I
already knew that neither of them wanted me to marry this man. But I loved him, and I still love
him, in a way. They were older and thought they knew better. It wasn't until I had my own
daughters that I understood how they felt.
Weeks before the wedding day, my mamá spoke in the old language about something I
could only understand as sadness and disappointment. Then she told me she was happy, and that
my papá would have been happy and given my husband great bride gifts. We had nothing to give
now, the four of us women, but he wanted me anyway, and I moved with him across the basin to
a real house. He built it himself after we met, with the Sánchez Navarro money, and it had four
bedrooms. For us and our three sons, he told me, and I beamed back at him as he carried me to
the wedding bed.
Four-thousand-and-fifty days, five-thousand nights,
A grey-haired woman peers through her telescope,
Searching for the moon that wanders alone,
Yearning for the shadow that once embraced it.
The pitch-black umbra surrounds the moon,
A throwback to that starry night of old,
When Luftwaffe's flames kindled the flicker,
And the face of death shimmered in her world.
Two barrage balloons fell from the sky,
As thunder roared through angry, black clouds,
She glimpsed fragments of a dive bomber's skin,
Painting the heavens amidst her bird's feathers.
With avocado toast and Americano dark roast
Hot chicken mushroom soup with a cottage tulip vase
Made by your mother
who now has the vote
Soft background music and art therapy
All done by your sisters
who now have the vote
Dime-store perfume and a fat cat
All in your granny’s house
who now have the vote
A few hundred years that Adam was in charge
But now it’s Eve too,
she has the vote.
Real Witches dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women. They live in
ordinary houses and work in ordinary jobs. That is why they are so hard to catch. – Roald
Dahl, The Witches.
A throwaway remark,
wicked whispers in the dark
A tumour turned cancerous
Whispers became deafening
Dr. Blasey Ford Explained,
“Indelible in the Hippocampus is the Laughter,” and I Still Can’t Forget It
was cast out
in a wood, beyond
of God’s voice,
A fierce black cat,
Outside your house
invoking a doomy omen.
I stop at the intersection of
Heart/Mind/Soul & the body
Each standing at the crossroads,
Leading nobody to nowhere.
Where am I?
Perhaps there, where-
Love slips from one wall to another
Falling onto her shoulders, sugar by sugar
Salt by salt…sprinkling death
I miss your Mother.
My grandfather never wore yellow
It reminded him of his hair
and being his father’s heir
Before they turned grey
and fell out like a
snake shedding skin
He hoped he wouldn’t
bequeath it to his kin
Sticking up from behind his ears
in every photograph
Hay-coloured giving fever
to those who recognized
The lack of slick
The lack of father
Like the stone of a plum
Ripped from its core
And caught between your teeth
Is that how it felt to suck on me?
Twiddle my heart between index and thumb
Taste the sweetness of my love
And spit me back out when I’m bone dry.