the thirst trap after
They don’t play Los Vendidos from this jukebox, and the DJ won’t play it. You taught us to call
ourselves the zoo cru and other assimilations. Am I pretty enough to get this tequila shot for
free? Instead, I hold your brain in the pour of the Xmas punch. Crosses pique in the windows,
and you don’t like them enough to wear over your shirt. The women in my family taught me to
laugh at priests and their idols when the Pentecostals claimed us in San Joaquin dust. But they
didn’t prepare me to protest the prayer in the schoolhouse. Is your home more sacred than mine?
I fold up your note and give it to mother for reading. To try and decipher how much was crossed
in the Ts. I take it out now and fold it over my breasts to wear as my body con dress. It expands
too bright, too honey. The jukebox plays, “Oh, Honey.” You are not my honey. How sacred your
home is. Too bright, too honey.
Anatomy Class at the Air and Space Museum
I find airport receipts in my jacket when my brother and sister glint red lipstick over their mouths
and shake crows. We learned to account for the rattle in the dinosaurs’ throats and hear them as we turned the wheel of wooden planets, trying to find the hospital spots where our mothers expelled
us out in metal cones, our first catastrophe. How do we find our silver mine in the vapor? We
buy us a microwavable pie that we hope will contain the tender geometry of our skulls. We think
we have enough to make us astronauts, and we rack our hips together to blow a balloon, but we
only rise to the ceiling, white blonde children laughing at us, saluting our doom with old school
soda wax cups, waiting for our wings to sprout our spines our blood and we made kites instead.
Club Cuts Papel Picado
Our hairdresser cuts a paper scene to the sound of communion juice in her throat. Three women
binding machista dolls, the velvet curse at our hips only rots when you tell it. Make it better than
drum pulse, we say to you. Make it better than teolol. We take our lies and make them chain mail
to give to men that would do us harm. The scissors cut the hair around our ear lobes and treat us
to a glamour girl roller sets to last long enough for centuries. The tissue would make a good lily
rouge if we crushed it fast against our face. Or perhaps a puta dress that we could dance to along
the riverbank, our ankles slipping in and out of tree roots like stilettos. Windows stacked on top
of each other like cards, we tap our stilettos in plastic kitchens instead. Look at how our hair
glows over our refrigerator quilt. How do these phone alerts mimic wasps at our mouths? A
jukebox plays. Animal crackers stick their heads out the machine and belt songs from our ruffle
sock days, their mouths snapping like cellophane to sound like the record store spin.
Monique Quintana is from Fresno, CA, and the author of Cenote City (Clash Books, 2019) and the chapbook My Favorite Sancho and Other Fairy Tales (Sword and Kettle Press, 2021). Her work has appeared in Pank, Wildness, Winter Tangerine, and other publications. You can find her book reviews and artist interviews at Luna Luna Magazine, where she is a contributing editor. Her writing has been supported by Yaddo, the Sundress Academy of the Arts, the Community of Writers, and the Open Mouth Poetry Retreat. She teaches English at Fresno City College. You can find her on Instagram at @quintanadarkling and moniquequintana.com.