BY MONIQUE QUINTANA
When I was a girl, I watched my boy cousins conjure spirits in our family house. Our great grandmother, Marcrina had to do a limpia to clean it out. I wonder if those spirits birthed other spirits that have existed in the many rooms that my body and my family have encountered.
Our landlady had received the Delno house as an inheritance from her dead brother. The house was trimmed with orange paint and the front yard was covered in flaxen colored weeds that itched my ankles when I walked across the lawn. They made me question why we had moved in there. It made me think, should sisters reject gifts from their dead brothers? When we lived in that house, it was the first time I had my own little fruit tree. I thought that only good would come from that tree, the way that the dark lord’s daughter, Xquic became pregnant when a tree spat on her in the old creation of her magic twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque.
The first night in the house, I walked into the bedroom doorway and my arm began to bleed. There was a tiny hook sticking out like a half moon. It must have held a bolt and lock in its past life. The sting of the pain felt different than an injection needle, and I shivered because I imagined my arms filling with rust and small bits of paint.
On the second day, I saw that the blue on the restroom walls was painted haphazardly. I did like the color of it because it remained me of the ocean, and I very rarely get to see the ocean. I hung a mirror in the corner and it looked like an egg floating over my head.
On the third day of living in the Delno House, I saw her in the old storage shed shaped like a triangle. A black widow spider, its stomach the size of a marble. A red blushed stomach. All her legs quick and nervous like my fingers. I left all of my summer dresses to hang over cardboard boxes, flapping in the cold wind that swept through the broken window. Left lipstick and thread in jars and muffin tins. Electrical cords ran under the basin, dripping with water and rust.
My son and I burned sage under the light of the moon and my son started crying. We began to argue mightily whether the sage was bringing bad energy instead of clearing it away. If the copal we burned in the morning time was making us hate each other. In that cold wind, we made our ancestors into demons and we shivered in shame.
I invited my friends over for new moon tea and we write our intentions on small scraps of paper. The candle lights melt the bits of crystalized sugar off the pan dulce in blues and yellows and milky whites like smiles. We three took a picture in front of a large growth, combustion of purple flowers. We were happy to be consumed by the flowers.
I took baths two times a day, leaving the window open to listen to the birds. The window over the tub like a mouth. I would stand up in the tub and watch the shade grow under the giant tree. I thought of myself sleeping deep under the dirt and tree roots, my limbs tangled and peaceful. I go under water and come up again. The mirror floating about my head like an egg. My blue hair under me like kelp and like smoke.
Monique Quintana was born and raised in the Central Valley, “the other California” and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from CSU Fresno. She is a Senior Associate Editor at Luna Luna Magazine, Fiction Editor at Five-2-One Magazine, and a contributor at CLASH Media. She blogs about Latinx Literature at her site, bloodmoonblog.com, and her work has appeared in Winter Tangerine, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Grimoire, Huizache: The Magazine for Latino Literature, and The Acentos Review, among other publications. She is an alumna of the Sundress Academy for the Arts and has been nominated for Best of the Net.Her novella, Cenote City is forthcoming from Clash Books in March, 2019. You can find her at moniquequintana.com