When you finally reopen your eyes, the strobe lights have been replaced by soft overhead lighting and a maelstrom whirls on the dance floor – faces suspended in expressions of exhilaration that will only last until the bar closes. You see a familiar form moving among them. You let that thought go, sure it is a negroni-induced mirage. But you notice the way it taps its foot against the floor. Slowly. Out of time with the music.
People wanted to be debased. They wanted to debase others, their scent lingering as they walked by.
Oh home, you are nothing more than a sweet and exhausting illusion.
“Where did you find her?” I ask.
Cigarette butts, wilted leaves, and little gray feathers fall into the sink as water runs through her arteries.
“Leaking by the Bethesda Terrace,” he responds. He takes a seat at my two-person kitchen table. He keeps his arms and legs close to his body. His hands rub at the red stain on his sweatshirt.
I nod, that’s where she always goes.
…Mamá knocks on my door in the early morning. The sky is dark still, the sun in hiding. She sits on the edge of my bed and strokes my hair like she used to do when I was just a kid. We have cereal for breakfast, and the sound of our crunching syncs up. We don’t talk about tía Marisol. We leave Sepelio behind and go to San Francisco.
The Touch of Water
The water he moved through was resistant, like water in the real world. Only this wasn’t real; it was just a feeling—a strange feeling, but all in his head. He couldn’t ignore it, but he learned to isolate that part of his experience—to box it up and put it away.
They danced on my molars and hid in my gums. They echoed my thoughts as I had them, especially the soft ones, forming like cotton between the teeth, and the violent ones, burning at those I hated.
We Are the Only Animals in the House
The tiger girl is Savannah pulled inside out, her sunset gaze crisscrossed in my room, her slow growls barnacled on my mind. At night, she follows me to the grimy corners of the city where alcohol and loneliness never end. She steps from behind the pillars of an old fort or a warehouse and chases me home.