Mija, Try This
Every Thursday night
I’d lay down on my aunt’s burnt orange carpet
next to the rug and the glass coffee table,
wedged in between the tall
green vase with the yellowing paper lilies
and Frida Khalo memorabilia.
Trying my best at invisibility,
laying down and counting
how many times my mom would laugh in the kitchen
or closing my eyes to taste the wafting scent of magnolias.
I’d hear my mom and my tia warble like swallows
and call me in for their best gossip
that I wouldn’t understand.
They’d turn into crows with
the right amount of wine.
My tia’s magenta smile would open like
the beaded curtain into her kitchen
welcoming that faithful glass to my lips.
“Mija, Try this, you’ll like it, I promise”
I liked it.
Three glasses and I’d spin on the floor,
smelling the warm hosed pavement and vacuumed carpet
while their quiet yet potent heckling would drift me into sleep.
“Don’t tell your father”
The red wine meant David came back.
This time he broke into her garage and slept on her extra couch, because
that’s what cocaine does to your wallet.
The white wine meant she wasn’t in the mood
to deal with that stupid bitch at work, when her husband’s
sleeping on his sister’s couch for the umpteenth time this month.
They taught me the standard problem solving method:
bottle, corkscrew, glasses and waterproof mascara.
I walked among the bundles of sage to purify homes
and agua florida to purify dreams,
wondering why she wanted
to come here
and watch the people with the colorful beads
purchase red passion oil
and black phallus- shaped candles.
We’re closely watching each card placed in front of us
as deliberately as my grandmother counting
the stitches in her embroidery.
We’re calculating our futures
by the placement of the
Queen of Wands
and the major arcanas,
making sure their order
keeps that red candle
burning off the undesirables.
I kept thinking about the
patchouli, the rose of Jericho,
unraveling in a large glass bowl,
littered with pennies and dimes
ensuring prosperous revenge.
Then, I heard that her husband’s engine on
his new mid-life crisis Lexus
blew up out of nowhere on the 10 freeway.
Never mess with a woman scorned.
Lauren Villa was born and raised in Los Angeles, where she proudly resides. Once an aspiring astronaut, found her calling with words when she could not reconcile the torrid relationship she had with Physics. She loves penguins, the Dodgers and vodka.