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Oct 2010
i wonder

if someone else called you

to tell them a story

because the nightmares wouldn't cut their ropes,

would you kick your heels

upon your desk and spin

a tale as long as the night itself

until they fell asleep?

"a beautiful red-haired princess

lived in a land

far far away

but she was so amazing

that the prince would scale

the highest of the mountainsides

to see her"

you were always writing me

into fairytales

and sometimes they helped

fight the darkness

did I ever tell you about those nightmares?

how I heard an old Chicano folktale

about La Llorona

and how she came to me in a dream

weeping and screeching

and clawing at her eyes

and shrieking "Ayudame!"

through the tangle of the black woods in front of me

twisting riddles through my slumber.

do you know that

sometimes during barre stretch,

when we shoot our legs skyward,

or when i'm filing college interviews

your smile-laugh ripples

through my ears

and I grit my teeth

through peppermint pain

and try to drown it out?

did I ever tell you

when I got the phrases

"La Llorona"y "la rana"

scrambled up in my brain?

La maestra told us we would be

leyendo un cuento

sobre la rana

en the pond

and I thought she meant a story of

La Llorona

the wailing woman

maestro of a symphony of screams

and my heart stopped working

and I told her, "No puedo, I can't."

and she said, "Silly girl, la rana es 'the frog'."

and laughed.

do you remember when

they took me to a grave

and you told me about cancer

and how you thought that you'd die young?

you said it

so calmly

as if the dead around you

were offering up their Easter lilies

as a bridal bouquet

to be tossed to a lucky relative

and i just looked at you

with sea-glass eyes

and you kissed me

as the tears spilled over

into silent rivers

down my cheeks

i wonder

if sometimes

when you listen closely

you can hear the bottle-sculptures'

mouths lisping with the wind

or la rana

croaking in the pond

and smile-laughing right along with you

at me.

if the story has a different beginning now

or a middle

or an end

or if you've written me out entirely

or maybe just changed my fate

"a beautiful red-haired princess

was punished for her vanity

and doomed to wander and wail

for all of eternity

for she had done wrong."

and am I La Llarona,

the weeping woman?

because that's all I ever

seemed to do

The dreams are gone now

or, rather, the nightmares

but there are some things

more haunting in reality.

i wonder if she hears

the coded tick-tock

of the static

or the shrill cries

of tortured souls

forever searching

forever lost

i wonder

if you love her

more than me.
Written by
Bailey B
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