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title. home hole

date. 2011

city. berekely, ca

size. 10in x 8 in

Architecture of a Staircase

Forthcoming in Aster(ix) Journal

Excerpt of Landings

Published in The Acentos Review, August 2018

Tea

Published in Necessary Fiction, August 1, 2018

November 10th, 2016

Appears in The Rattling Wall and Pen Center USA anthology, Only Light Can Do That

I spend two hours on the phone with a Medi-Cal machine recording. It asks me, Are you still there? Are you still there? Are you still there? I don’t know what to say.

 

The Medi-Cal machine thinks the Spanish in the background is my response. She keeps repeating, I did not get that. I did not get that. 

Me neither, I want to say. In 68 days she’ll be programmed to automatically call I.C.E.

 

Your vote is your voice. Speak up and vote in the next election, the Medi-Cal message murmurs. Why does it feel like she’s taunting me?

 

Finally, a woman picks up the line. She asks me how my day is going. I say the world is ending.

She is silent. In an attempt at apology I add, We have a steep hill to climb. Pause. Amen, she says.

 

At the doctor’s office a woman clutches her small son to her chest and sings to him, I love my niño, I love my niño. He squeals and shouts, Otro mas! Otros mas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

title. home hole

date. 2011

city. berekely, ca

size. 10in x 8 in

Seal

Late at night the ceiling felt like home. Bars of street light drifted past and British drunks sounded Spanish. The bars could be moonlight. Cars, sound of waves. Warm hiss from the radiator—pretend it’s ocean spray, she told herself, as she let the drizzle of Andrew’s saliva comfort her. His sweating body was a beached seal. The rot of his breath part of the sea’s life cycle.

 

At home in Santa Verónica, she had once seen villagers tenderly separate the skin of a dolphin from bone. The beach was dark and fuzzy. The mumbling between figures in moonlight like a song. Their eyes down, mourning and worshipping the slip of fat as it fell from their knives. Thank you, she thought she heard them say. She didn’t remember why she was out so late.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

title. home hole

date. 2011

city. berekely, ca

size. 10in x 8in

Negotiations

Mail me a tea set! she slurred into the phone. Send me cubed sugar! Scones! I told her one could not send scones via post. Don’t challenge me! she shouted, then hung up. An hour later, when the fog of sleep had just begun to wrap me, she called again. Ok, just the sugar cubes then, she sniffed, as if I were a waiter. Wrapped or unwrapped, I asked, pretending to take down her order, making exaggerated scratching noises with a pen. She sighed an aristocratic sigh, Oh, wrapped, I suppose. We breathed in unison, a whooshing sound like we were going through a tunnel. I suppose you have tea every day over there! she bellowed. I suppose you take it in a pretty little china cup with roses painted on the side. She coughed for several moments. Actually, I said, they’re lilies.