Azucar in the Blood

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Six of Swords from my personal Tarot del Fuego deck by Ricardo Cavolo. 

I have been taught to add sweetness. To my voice, to my tone, to the way I move my body in white spaces. I have been taught to shrink. Cross your legs, keep them shut, never spill out of your clothes. I have been taught to take out my tongue and let it hang down. Open wide for others to spit on my open face. Let saliva spill out of my mouth, put my hands around my tongue and pull. Pull until you’re numb. Pull until your palms are pruned into small soft canyons.
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Mentirosa

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Ace of Swords from my personal Tarot del Fuego deck by Ricardo Cavolo

My pulse boomed in the room, bouncing off the walls. It felt like my ears were going to explode. My body was ready to dissipate into dirt. I was fed up. I was tired of being an object. A play thing. Here I am at seven. It’s where a lot of my stories begin. My bones ache from exhaustion. The anger burns in my chest. I kick the blue-eyed assaulter in the face. I squirm under the sheets and I fall off the bed. I run to wake up my older cousin and I tell him what’s going on. My exact words: “Luis is touching me where he’s not supposed to.” In El Paso, we live in a small one bedroom apartment. There’s a kitchen and then there’s the bedroom/living room area. Six kids total and two adults. Two beds, one futon, and all of our bodies in this little room. My cousin grabs me and he embraces me. He comforts me in his arms. He doesn’t question me. He tells me to fall asleep in between him and my two other cousins. He becomes my human shield.
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Bitter Brown Girl

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From my personal Tarot del Fuego deck. Art by Ricardo Cavolo

I was a bitter brown girl. I clenched my fists and jaw when I saw the favoritism in my family for masculine energies and men. It’s a tone. It’s a glint in the eye. Like, being born a boy is automatically a milagro within itself. A warped kind of worshiping. There was white Jesus with his blonde hair and six-pack and there was also Luis. He had the same eye color as white Jesus. He was never a father to me. He was male gaze incarnate. The way he used to look into me, as though I was a woman at the age of seven. I used to dream in blues, underwater and sinking fast into the bottom of the ocean until a light shimmered on top of my head and forced me to look to the surface. I was trapped inside the blue of his eyes. I scraped at his cornea until I could crawl out. When I fell onto the ground and looked to him, his skin and blood turned cerulean and then exploded onto the walls and onto me. Blue blood and guts eviscerated.
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Being Brown and Believing in Magic

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From Tarot del Fuego by Ricardo Cavolo

Walter Mercado told me to wear gold to ring in the New Year so I did. Walter and his gorgeous, extravagant gowns. Watching him growing up, I believed in his magic. He struck me as regal, optimistic, and vivacious. I knew to stop talking, chewing loud, hold my breath until I heard him say “Leo” and finally end his astrological analysis with a circular motion around his heart and a kiss to the camera. Magic was a constant in my life, until it wasn’t.
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