001: No safety in the chamber we call room. Air mattress burst with our eyes closed. Target’s Joan will tell me about her brilliant son, exchange any lost-receipt item for affirming Ben’s progress. Monumental window sill gathers lifeless mosquitos before we die. Collecting histories of how daddy made us do it, dad made us hunched and inward grey. Como me duele. Recall pa and I drove to the farm that night but they had killed the piggy. All I could do was cry. I loved that pig, and that pig loved me back. If I could relieve your shame I would form a pocket universe, pull you inside, release the fear past your vertebrae. No more surprises, just an emergency contact as a last resort. An artless alarm that wakes me to make room on the bed. We took each other for granted. Como se dice… we’ll talk about who did the dishes when the time is right. It all happens when least expected and it hurts just the same. I toss half my belongings, give Adrianna my favorite scarf, pack garments for anyone to choose life in them.
002: Abuelita holds rosaries, enough for each child’s neck. Reminds me I am the first grandchild, speaks love again began with you. Adores me despite her own son unable to hold a fag. When I confess my disbelief in god, hurt heart and all, she reveals trust yourself and that’s enough for me. Ofelia dresses me in her most sacred piece with the stone, the final artifact from her boundless mother. Hold onto this, for you, safety always. Protects me from unmade love, whispers I believe in Cristian, the body almighty, santificado sea tu nombre. So many unfolded prayers, god herself could bend.
003: Remove the plastic from the garden windows, let light in the crawl-space of our little history. Drunk one night, Angela admits I am more sad than I’ve ever been. We have to find a new place before our hole in the ground floods. I collect things that matter, push them center, away from corners, hide them at any peaks we find. Damp wall decay; earthworms on the cracked tiles, dust coated memorial, asking us which way we’d like to go. She inhales what’s left of the pipe, it’s okay. Comet string of lights on the ceiling glow, okay. I stare—the way time mirrors itself here is soft but scares me. You make leaving easy, make being gone electrifying. Another winter captive would leave my bones split cold, palms alert, chest left with no foundation. Chicago November sun will set us aflame. Better now than when we’re skin peeling off the side of the concrete. I’ll ask Giovanni to gather my remains if his wrists allow—donate me, disperse me amid yellow flowers.
004: I miss sweetness in dial tones. Nine number memory—your beautiful voice—over the moon. Te extraño. I can’t stream you over the internet, I can’t reach you over the internet.
005: Alex and I used to starve ourselves to feel pretty like the other girls. Now laugh at that crippling yesterday. I tell her she’s the most beautiful body I’ve ever seen. We date simple convulsive boys among other habits. I’m glad she invites joy where it may live, as every small thing feels harder—declares it makes her feel alive. Through my teary impulse laugh I am so proud, so happy for you. We are doing better than ever.
006: Bored by your stifling indifference, still I accept your hurting process—I’m sorry. She, the mirror, forgives me for saying sorry for needing you. Like a child in a flea market, hiding from their parent to test how long a seek. They don’t come find you, don’t begin a search. Leave you, say you… it’s for the best. Say me, repeating my name out loud to manifest a luminous shadow. I dispel you, now inhale. Let your guilt forgive you. It’s okay, I’m also trying my best. Welcome deserved devotion with my erratic landscape. I am a mound of clay relieving my own name, relearning my own name.
007: Ma, I’m here, quite alright, so dying dreams don’t seem scary. Bright sixteen year old girl waiting for her boyfriend to pick her up for the dance. Ma insists he’s no good but I learned you need mal amor before you get to good and maybe some drugs too. As you google guessed by now, dead dreams imitate significant change in one’s life: amputating someone you could no longer carry. I wear my abuela’s apron, cook for people who gave me joy yet asked for nothing in return. I’m a little homemaker; why try to change me now. Restless writer trusting you, not any body, to read their chaotic arc because you are effortless kind. Recollect my baby holding me on his shoulders at a concert. I was the number one groupie, top slouched off my shoulder, inebriated silk fever. Feeling like the vital bitch I dreamt up. When you’re not alive, you don’t wait for them to answer your text message. Their voice transitions like an echo never leaving you, exhale: cómo estás, I miss you, I’m coming over now.
008: you touch me at a distance because I provoke your desire and shame. Won’t inform your buddies that your girl is who she is: radiant, unprovoked by genitalia. Build your own barbie. As much as they wish, it will not kill me. No one is brave enough to love my body as I have. I slip my dress down my hips, capture a self-portrait, kiss my own pink mouth.
009: Palmer’s dear brother grows gorgeous things on a patch of land, sets them free at the local market. People beg to get burned. Now that’s a scene: the hottest pepper turned over, such heat, tongue split in half. Carolina Reaper feels like getting fucked for the first time or the last time I cupped Tiny’s ears and kissed his forehead. In 2013 Carolina was declared the hottest pepper in the world and we all knew she had it in her. Even when we pretended god existed she kept blooming, never faith-shamed us. Across the ocean, Rio from AT&T claims at least you’re making a difference in practice while he works at a call center. I remind him we constantly live in numerous places, our strangest dreams prove that. You’re connecting people to the universe… there’s nothing small about that. In today time I stay hot, listen to Don’t Let Me Be The Last To Know by Britney Spears to remind honesty in myself. I used to dread taking my dress off in front of people I loved but nowadays can’t seem to keep anything on. Meaning to confess my need to hold you for nine minutes. Desire to farm like my sweet friends brother. Whisper to the ground, you will be red-hot harvest—flame through the fucking reaper.
010: My provider claims I’ve been grinding my teeth due to anxiety. Lips sealed together. I feel like an x-ray exhibition, the audience speculating from a one way mirror. The last time I kissed someone I kept my eyes open to see, up close, what it looked like. How many ways can one say Ah—only open to sing, I wanna love like my mamma joyfully dances. I want to cry like papa when he first held me. Tell me, what do you feel is causing you distress? I think maybe being alive, waking up every morning is difficult… sometimes you just don’t want to sleep alone. But alive, I love being. I try to laugh at least once a day, press palms to my chest twice about home. I’ve been having this dream where my teeth spill out. And I have to water my roots, mouth split open; inside a ray of sunlight.
Index of Homemakers:
A: Abuelita. Adrianna. Alex. Angela. B: Baby. Barbie. Ben. Boys. Britney Spears. Brother. C: Carolina. Chicago. D: Daddy. G: Girls. J: Joan. O: Ofelia. P: pa. Palmer. Piggy. Provider. R: Rio. S: She. T: Tiny. W: Writer. Y: You.
Cristian works in social service with the coolest young people in the world. She survives out in the world, making homes where she can through her written work and dear friends. She’s all about deep connection and the drama of it all.