LITTLE BUZZCUT

courtesy of Peter Haden license cc by 2.0

courtesy of Peter Haden license cc by 2.0

Finalist, Mississippi Review 2019 Prize in Fiction
Published in Mississippi Review Volume 47, Number 1 & 2, Summer 2019

Triggered by family separations at the U.S./Mexico border, “Little Buzzcut” explores spiritual pain and resilience as a child taken from his mother grows up faster than he should, and the Border Patrol Agent who carried out the separation order comes to terms with what he has done. 

I know these things because death allows me to.
Listen, child.
Desierto de los Muertos will dry Officer Kincaid’s eyes. He will look for you.
Rio Grande will rise to drown him while he searches.
A horse more agile than his SUV along riverbanks will pick up traces, imprints of your hands and knees where you fell, boy. These marks will help him find you.

I know because during the hours my spirit rose to leave Earth, when I was still exhausted from how they butchered my body, I asked for a few more days around you. Gracias a Dios, they were granted, so I stand slightly behind your right shoulder. Your vieja abuelita, a small street fighter on her way to heaven, keeping you company for a time here where Texas thrusts its thumb downward into Mexico. Scrublands all around, niño. Boundaries fluttering in the wind like mourning doves.

PEEPERS

Courtesy of unsplash

Courtesy of unsplash

Pushcart Prize nominee, Brilliant Flash Fiction, September, 2018
Publication forthcoming in Brilliant Flash Fiction’s anthology

I know it’s biology, but it sounds like longing to me. Wet in places I don’t like. Through congealed mist beyond this dark high school parking lot, tiny tree frogs throat-sing their desire to mate. The theater inside’s quiet. My daughter’s opening night is over. I hung around too long, smiling, impersonating suave until they started locking up lobby doors. Now I’m alone out here, ambushed by the hormonal exuberance of frogs.

LETTER TO AN ARCHANGEL

Courtesy of Loïc Mermilliod on Unsplash

Courtesy of Loïc Mermilliod on Unsplash

Pushcart Prize nominee, The New Guard Vol. VI

Uriel, 

You were narrow as a starved Palestinian. 

I had no idea who you were or why you appeared at my kitchen table. You struck like wildfire or a tsunami. You. Light of God with flame in his palm, brother to the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, wielder of the blistering sword at Eden’s Gates, presider over Hell—and, of all things, patron of the arts. 

 Whoosh. There you were. I had not the narrowest chink of time to figure you out.