By Jenn Givhan
Published August 28, 2016
The balloon animals wilting in the city’s
only zoo remind me. When I turn
circus, I wear more than costume. I wear
my sister, Nieve. White as snow.
Girl whose mama locks
herself inside for days. Girl
whose claustrophobic potions
fail her, fingers muddying
leaves & earthworms.
Mama out of focus
with her heft & weight
her cold tortillas.
She calls me cochina. Pig child.
I tug at my basalt-
black hair, woven
with ribbons like myth
Mama fixes each morning to soothe
her nerves, combing & brushing
me smooth. When she’s angry
she leaves on my cheeks
hand-shaped splotches redder
than the birthmark on my neck
where she says
I was kissed by God.
I wonder what ice-cream tastes like
in heaven. I wonder if the growl of
mountain lions is real (Why are you here, child?)
& the answer is Nieve.
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Blood For Rain by Allison Thai
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On Light and Dark by Mariel Tishma
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