Teaser #2 from Tawni Water’s upcoming book!
In San Miguel, foreign words clangs in my ears like church bells, a strange song
with lyrics I don’t know. The night air is tarry, thick with the smells of cactus fruit
and smoke. I dance in cracked cantinas, come home late, curl in my bed, smelling
like other people’s cigarettes. Always, in my dreams, you dangle above me, just
out of reach, a piñata I cannot break. In your belly, you carry candy colored secrets. Sometimes, you crack, and one falls out, drops into my mouth. “We never die,” you told me once, and I believed you, swallowed your sweet words whole.
In San Miguel, I feel old, almost dead, even though boys half my age chase me down the cobblestone streets, their faces smooth-brown, smiling. “Como se llama?” They can’t read the years on my face, but I carry them with me, in the place just below my ribcage. My belly remembers everything. “No habla Español,” I say, shrugging. I wander away down the flower strewn sidewalk, alone, to this room, where milky moonlight drips through a hole in my ceiling, coats my eyes. For me, God wrote His love letter on the lines of your face.
I wonder sometimes if you have consigned me to a convent, like Hamlet’s Ophelia.
“Get thee to a nunnery,” and she drowned in her cesspool of tears.
In San Miguel, last night, that Argentine man burned as he danced. His feet were on fire.
His black eyes ate me alive. Without speaking, he crossed the room and kissed me hard.
His tongue tasted like tequila. I closed my eyes, kissed him back, pretending he was you.