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Alterations


[clock] 2-MINUTE READ ISSUE:  Summer 2017

 

She says she lit a candle and placed it under my balls when I was born 
because they were too big, 
of course you don’t want that. Then

there’s wetting your fingers with spit
to pull the nose in the morning so it’s straight.

And it was straight
till I broke it turning the corner
playing tag in first grade.

You shat on your face, Mom said, 
and hit me nowhere near my face.

She hit me when I broke my hand, 
the branch of the sweetsop tree 
too thin for me to hang from.

Two days it took 
to take me to the hospital.

First she pulled me by the other arm, 
hit my ass with a stick. Time-out,

she locked me in a room. 
When she saw my arm swell, 
she took me to the witch doctor
who spat tobacco 
and rubbed me with ruda leaves 
then blew smoke.

Heal heal little frog’s butt, 
he said. I thought it worked.

We were poor. We sold pupusas
to patients. In the next room 
a kid was tied to his bed.

It’s a thing that happens, the real doctor said. 
The Jell-O was my favorite part 
of wearing a cast. But I liked it all,

the not showering, the plastic bag over it
when I had to shower
in front of the well in my underwear.

The birds. Mom with a towel. 
Earthworms in the dirt. Wind. 
Her fingers drying my hair. The flies 
hovering over my arm. 
The smell.

We never went back to the doctor 
to cut the cast. Mom used a saw
once my arm didn’t hurt
when I stuck a stick down it 
when it itched.

She kept rubbing my arm
with red-fox oil first thing 
in the morning,

passed a candle along my skin 
dropped three drops of wax
then rubbed them toward my fingers 
lightly, lightly, 
the bones didn’t crack.

 

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