I hate the sound of Judy Jetson singing melodically in an elevator. I once cursed on the elevator in a parking structure on the Fourth of July, said they were scary as fuck, and my mother banished me from her sight long enough to find femininity in a neon garden. The flowers gripped to the dirt, scream echoed when I tried to pull them out. Only reluctant souvenirs could make me this discontent. At the end of my banishment, my mother waited for me under a tree holding a basket with fruit I had never seen before. This was not the screen I inherited, but I watched it anyway and put a star sticker next to the camera to look her straight in the eyes.
It took three lifetimes for my mother to boil the egg in the rusted metal pot. My aunt twisted lilies in our mouth to give us substance, and the petals broke down into our stomachs to rejuvenate the parts that had fallen cold and ill. I sat next to the fire, the smoke coming out of the chimney that our fathers made us. If only we could see through the night of morning, the pristine of the brick of the kitchen we made for ourselves. The bright egg outside of its yolk.
Every time you ask me to share a plate with you, you want to share on your terms. I have heard the story about you making your mother return your boots many times. Cut from old brown leather, they perfume your ankles with memories and lime. We cut the winter flowers from the stems and find spools of thread inside. Should I use these to make our dress of whiteflies? Tonight we dine in the garden, drinking from tulip heads, the leaves passing over our lips to make a cake from the bitter parts of our family.
About Monique Quintana
Monique Quintana is a Xicana from Fresno, CA, and the author of the novella Cenote City (Clash Books, 2019). Her short works have been nominated for Best of the Net, Best Microfiction, and the Pushcart Prize. She has also been awarded artist residencies to Yaddo, The Mineral School, and Sundress Academy of the Arts. She has also received fellowships to the Community of Writers, the Open Mouth Poetry Retreat, and she was the inaugural winner of Amplify’s Megaphone Fellowship for a Writer of Color. You can find her @quintanagothic and moniquequintana.com.