José Angel Araguz
I remember starting the book I borrowed–– stole–– a year earlier, since it was around me more than she was. Back then, I had the nights before me to call and call. 3AM, the back of my throat thick and smoke hollow, my tongue lingering over my R’s:
Querrrida, sorry to call late, I’m here, one hundred three perrrrrcent chulo, you should call me. I have your Sandra Cisneros book, y como ella, I want you, juntito a mi.
When she didn’t answer, I’d flip through the pages and marvel at the smell of cinnamon. I’d imagine an altar––perhaps candles and photographs around a night stand–– her asleep, her son with the spiked collar and black boots replacing her black nail polish.
Back then, I had the nights before me full of perhaps. I would hold the book for hours, determined to get into it, the heart of a Mexican woman. Cisneros would’ve done it differently. She’d have a cigar and call herself Daddy. Her black hair would shine like plums in the moonlight as she prayed, unlike me, for something deeper than forgiveness. If given a second chance, she’d get it right and steal love.
José Angel Araguz, author of the chapbook Corpus Christi Octaves, is a CantoMundo fellow. Winner of RHINO Poetry’s 2015 Editor’s Prize, he has had poems recently in Blue Mesa Review, Poet Lore, and Pilgrimage as well as in the anthology Goodbye Mexico: Poems of Remembrance. He is pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Cincinnati. His flash fiction/prose poem chapbook “Reasons (not) to Dance” is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press. He runs the poetry blog, The Friday Influence.