by Suzi F. Garcia
Run Away with Me
For Carly Rae
There are teeth
where my heart should be
and they are always hungry.
At night, in our darkened bedroom,
we hear them gnash against themselves,
cry out for more than this. We are stuck in
our bodies, and when I breathe in,
my lungs are full of asbestos, all itch and
paper cuts. We try to drown my heartteeth
out with a bass line, a trumpet that cuts
across air, but we mold in corners,
sick of the party. We move
to the front stoop, still our legs, drum
fingers in call to nature, to one another. Darling,
we are small town dreams, and we are big city sweets.
There is a howl that starts in my stomach, and I feel
my body go feral in the Southern summer humidity, the kind
that drowns civility in favor of bare feet running, and
darling, yes, let’s run. We’ll cross state lines on nothing
but adrenaline and Fireball, kiss me cinnamon burn.
When it grows dark out, we’ll follow moonpaths
across rivers, let our feet slip through mud, and finally
breathe rainwater clean.
Con Mis Tías
Admonishing in Spanish just out of my reach,
so I learned to understand tone at an early age.
They didn’t visit often, but I remember one spring,
they came and it rained for days, that hard Arkansas rain
where you just know that tomorrow will be thick and rich,
that you can walk barefoot for days and your feet will sink
in grass long and opulent, breathe petrichor straight to your veins.
It was that rain that hits pavement and the pavement hits back,
so steam rises up soundless and full. But they don’t have
this kind of rain in Peru, at least not where my tías are from.
My tías were not still women. They were quick bodies, who
walked to the store and back, no matter the weather, who always
found something to clean, whose stoves were never without a
bubbling pot, who did not know the word rest. But on their last night,
we sat on the front porch, just us women, the only people on our block.
It was years before I went to Peru myself,
when I would ride in a car through desert after desert, past
shanty houses made from tin, surrounded by nothing, to stand
on the coast where storm clouds gathered, like starlings.
The wind pushed at me there, pulled on my hair, undoing
each braid, returning curl to my hair. But those clouds never broke,
they just congregated at night, scolded me in thunder, and were gone
by morning. Back in Arkansas, my tías sat on our porch
in silence with me. And I was a child, yet I didn’t need to talk either.
We watched the rain. We stayed dry under our arch while Tía Chela
opened peanuts, passing some to me, passing some to Tías Rosie and Reyna,
keeping some for herself. Her hands, smooth muscle, moved in swift efficiency,
a small pile of shells building beside us. Later that night, the rain finally lifted,
and I swept the shells into our front yard, where they were lost in the grass,
where I didn’t think of them again
Suzi F. Garcia has an MFA in Creative Writing with minors in Screen Cultures and Gender Studies. She is an Editor at Noemi Press, a CantoMundo Fellow, a Macondonista, and a member of the Latinx Caucus. Her writing has been featured or is forthcoming from the Offing, Vinyl, Fence Magazine, and more. Find her at: www.suzifgarcia.com.