Leslie Marie Aguilar
In this version, skin is a mask for Satan
& corn tortillas are hostias of fire
stacked on a rusted iron griddle. Here,
my mother is Eve. Standing half-naked
beside the ceramic sink in our kitchen,
she washes a clay bowl with both hands.
She whispers, a man can carry an apple
between his legs. One day I’ll understand,
I think, but I don’t I want to
understand. In this version, I’m
what-comes-next. My lover says,
babies are failed periods. When I tell
my mother she refuses to laugh.
It’s a cultural thing. This “white thing”
that dulls the color of his freckled skin.
She always warns, you shouldn’t laugh,
when lighting prayer candles with portraits
of la Virgen de Guadalupe etched in the glass.
It’s generational like knowing the difference
between Papa & Papá. I tell her I know,
as I lean over her trembling hands to take
the earthen bowl from her wet palms.
Leslie Marie Aguilar was born and raised in Abilene, Texas. She has served as the Poetry Editor of Harbinger Journal of Literature and Art and is the current Web Editor of Indiana Review. She is also the recipient of a National Society of Arts and Letters Literature Award. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Bellingham Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Rattle, Spillway, and The Más Tequila Review, among others. She is currently an MFA candidate at Indiana University.