He came from Florida, though I forgot which part as soon as he said it. Definitely not Miami. His skin was a fierce pink and he wore a turquoise Marlins baseball cap on backwards, a loose-fitting tank top, and board shorts. Pudgy, thirty-something, and reeking of booze. Something about the guy I liked. He had a big drunk laugh and seemed unstable in a refreshing way.
Don’t believe I was ever happy fiddling with dolls. Or skipping around the yard, tra-la. Adults invented the myth of the carefree childhood. As an only kid, I remember realizing—I must have been five or six—that no one would ever see who I truly was inside. Heartbreaking. Also, I remember hungering. Being so small and powerless, not even knowing what it was I wanted, just wanting, wanting.
Then I heard him.
Mom cranked it up while she painted. Her studio occupied the brightest room in the house. There were gobs of oil paint hardening on the braided rug, rags reeking of turpentine. Music so loud the windows shook. Controversy, 1999, Purple Rain. He moaned and screeched from Mom’s boombox, falsetto riding high over that funk. His hunger bottomless like mine.
Does six years old sound too young to feel lust? I tell you it’s not.
Read the full piece in Barrelhouse Magazine.
Download the free e-book anthology, Dig If You Will The Picture: Remembering Prince.
I’m thrilled to have a new essay in this gorgeous issue of New England Review. NER is a lovely and well-respected print journal, available at what was referred to in olden times as a “bookstore.”
Essay published in The Threepenny Review, Spring 2016.
We meet a fat diamondback five minutes down the trail. He is stretched across the path, dozing in the shade of a juniper bush. I’m an adult, so I want to act like one, but I’m crying so hard I can’t inhale and snot is dribbling into my mouth. It takes me twenty minutes to inch past the viper, while his tongue whips the air. After that, I search out a long, heavy stick to thump on the ground and jostle the creosote scrub before passing. My husband, Kevin, and our two friends are sympathetic, but my pace is agonizingly slow, and they drift ahead. I hear them chattering, always around the next bend, while blood bangs through my head like a Taiko drum.
Flash fiction published in The Normal School – November 5, 2015.
Under the editorship of Dagoberto Gilb, Huizache has been called “the Paris Review of Latino literature.” I’m proud to see my short story, “The Presidents at Table” published alongside Chicano luminaries in this gorgeous journal. Get your copy here.
Feature published in The New York Times – Sunday August 31, 2015.