Luisana Cortez

My Mother, Myself, y El Espíritu Santo

sometimes, i wish my mother
had not shed her story
onto me.

there are moments, guttural and deserted ones,
in which i do not need her spoken words for their hushed prayers to come ringing. 

easy as the beast-god springing forth from His head,
innate like the halo of moths on the bulbous thing. 

there are the fingers wrapped around the virgin's beads, 
throat-like in their desperation. 

there are the lips, rusted from wear, 
racing against the shadows through the crack under the door. 

i remember her speaking about their thick, mud-mexican walls.
thick enough to hide bodies in,

thick enough for myself.
my questioning being can be found in the craters of my body. 

but, like god, its source is obscure. 
unlike god, i exist in the absence of psalms and verses. 

the beast-god responds by tracking his feet on the unpaved road of the callejon
in the morning, i find the mark of the hoof and chicken claw across my chest. 

it presents itself through my ancestors, those who condemn me for the sour taste
of the treading's refusal between my legs.

i think,
i think that the murmurs began to spill out when the white bugs emerged

from my grandmother's holy-soaked bread rotting in her cabinet—
the manner of god eating god,

like the anguished sound of church bells piercing through—
at times, i blame the pedophilic priest from last summer, 

picture him mixing his semen
with the holy water so that the maggots
were drawn to the bread.
not god eating god, 

but my soiling at the hands of others.
sometimes, i place the blame on myself. 

Luisana Cortez is a Mexican-American, seventeen-year-old girl that plans to study English at the University of Texas at Austin. Her works have been previously published in The Harpoon Review and can also be found at Some of her interests include magical realism, Mexican films, and wearing tacky jewelry.