Smoke break

My mother smokes camels.
The animal, not the cigarettes.
She slits the throat and hangs it
from a tree till it’s drained of blood.
She sweeps the entrails and organs into buckets
she empties in the neighbor’s yard.

She carves chunks of meat,
blackens them over an open flame,
places them before me on a paper plate.
Eat, she says. Eat before
the camel’s ghost comes back.

A laugh. Something like kindness
thrashes about in her eyes,
then disappears.

Mami Says

Be safe, mija, shame should never sleep in the cradle of your mouth.

In Praise of Anesthesia

I will my alien legs onto the gurney. “You feel something?” asks a nurse, tapping the thin helmet of my belly.


Her eye contains the orbit with a planet and its rust.