“Póntelo” said my abuela in her sweet yet intimidating tone as she reached for my neck with her soft hands that smelled of cilantro. She had gotten up at 7 in the morning to make fresh shrimp ceviche for my arrival. “Póntelo todos los días” she insisted. The minute it touched my skin I felt [...]

The Morning Of

Ms. Ramos: “Every day I get up and walk in the same direction towards York Ave. I stop at the same traffic light and wait as it changes from green to yellow…yellow to red. That morning, it was different. The sky had no traces of sunlight. The air was cold. I could see the cloud [...]

Music Box

My mouth tastes like shit. The crust tears apart as I open my eyelids for what feels like the first time ever. I look to my right. Beep—beep—beep from the monitor reminding me I am still vital. I go to scratch the itchy patch on my left thigh, the patch that no longer grows hair, [...]

Caliche Roads

Fresh asphalt and gravel pop and spit from the wide, swaying weight of the van. Pop-rock fizz — teeming joy, like shaken strawberry soda in a thick, glass vessel, waiting to shower the sky, tickling the way a ladybug tickles your hand as she dances. slow left turn. Scrambling to hold tightly to the majestic, [...]

A Parting Speech I Can’t Give To My Students

Every teacher imagines giving a kick-ass speech on the last day of class. It’s all laid out in their minds’ eye. They stand in front of the room giving a passionate speech about overcoming adversity. A personal anecdote thrown in. The students sit rapt. One even sheds a tear. Finally with that last rhetorical flourish, [...]

El Pino

The day of the Christmas party Brenda spent all day cooking while her daughters Barbie and Blanca cleaned. “Metan todo lo que puedan en el closet,” she yelled from the kitchen. Her husband Beto called her una loca for wanting to have a party in a one bedroom apartment days after Christmas. “We barely fit [...]

Going Back Home

Rosario remained silent.  Day after day, her comapañeras sat beside and across from her in la factoria.  Their hands kept busy as they sewed, stitched, and cut bright colored fabrics. Beautiful and expensive clothes for tall, thin, long legged women, who dressed for important jobs and fancy parties. Bored by the monotony, the women looked [...]

Seven Days In The Darkness

I was driving back from work that day, and I got off the main road to a side street. That was my first mistake, according to my captors. Coming out of an alley, in seconds, two vehicles ambushed me. “Don’t look at us mierda!”, they yelled. Immediately, I put my head down between my legs [...]

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