Two Poems by Lauren Villa

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.


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