I always knew you were watching me in my window, Rafa. I can still smell the honeysuckle stained with black smoke that rose from the tires of your Malibu. A bouquet meant for me. I left it to scatter and dance for the birds. Every morning, my mother and I came from the tower to pick vegetables from our garden. The soil was pregnant with them. The tiny veins of each plant called our blood and bones to pull them up. We burned sage in jars during the late night oldies show. I dedicated the smoke to you, Rafa.
I wanted you to come up to the tower, Rafa. My mother tells me that my hair grew in rungs the very day that I saw you. The day you sat next to me on the park bench was the day that the moon tipped over on my blue polka dot skirt. You were reading a book with La Luna stitched on the front and the leather of book’s skin was so black that I thought it would fall and make a hole in the ground. You took to writing me letters with calligraphy pens and rubber stamps that your own mother had given you. You told me letter writing was a lost art the same way that puppet shows are. You took me to a puppet show about a hospital garden. The garden bloomed a new flower every time a woman died a slow death to a digital beat. You asked me if you could touch my hair that fell like a black pool of kelp. You waited until my answer was yes.
I brought you to my room in the tower and we hung our heads low to Santa Muerte and tucked coins and dirty bills in her sleeve. The stars stitched on the hem of her gown held the smell of your pomade and each word you and I spoke to each other.
Oceanskin coralsewn eelbones and brown pearls the color of our throats.
I touched you if every place I could think of. I watched your tattooed skin burn like a heap of copal that I held underwater. Your tattoo is a hospital garden we will never get to see. You stayed with me until I asked you to leave. You brushed my hair gently with my metal brush before you left every night. My hair touched my knees in all my intentions.
The twins grew side by side in my belly like half moons whispering to each other and tipping over and over like the fish we will never get to see.
You came to live with us, Rafa. We are four women calling the directions of all our ancestors. You watch us pull vegetables from the window adorned with letters from our grandmothers and our black leather shoes hanging from ribbons like rabbits to dry from the rain. You watch as our tiny daughters bloom fire from their mouths and their fires burn your eyes like thorns.