You Used to Be a Slave

Published in Acentos Review, August 2017

“¿Y a tí, que te importa, negra de mierdaaaa? Si tú ante’ era e’clava y ahora te la quiere da’ de gente!” And what the fuck is it to you, shitty negress you? You used to be a slave and you now wanna pretend you’re somebody.

His words, flying eastward–through the half-closed windows of his car and my aptly-named Cielito Lindo Beetle Bug–sliced the dry June air as the sun showed signs of exhaustion for another shift of hustle, one of the two-hundred and fifteen days it appeared each year in South Florida.  Robbed of any possible retort, I sat on ice for an eternal minute and slowly revealed a dignified cinnamon stick of a middle finger. It didn’t occur to me that he could have pulled out a .45-caliber handgun in return, a common gesture in road rage incidents in these parts. Instead, he sped off as soon as he could, with eyes bulging in horror.  My silent expression a warning and a threat.

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Flores de Mayo

Published in La Galería Magazine, September 2016

We unfriended one other on Facebook faster than it took for us to become friends in the first place. I was the first to do it. It was the week after we’d reconnected in May 2014, after almost thirteen years of being distant, with tacit estrangement, since right after 9/11. Back then she’d called me after nearly two years, like a journalist contacting a source.

“¿Entonces parece que los niuyourquinos no son tan fríos como se dice?” She’d wanted confirmation about whether New Yorkers were as cold as they’re thought to be. Apparently, after the attacks, all she could do was call me to get a quote.

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