In our neighborhood, the dumpsters peel orange but not like citrus. White liquid seeps from their underbelly. Nothing drinks the dumpster milk. Tomcats fight in the periphery while a family celebrates in gunshots. No one thinks of what happens when the bullets fall. We protest the jet-black bars of the windows and the fence. We don’t want to be prisoners of this world. My brother and I scatter out of our home and into the streets like sparrows, avoiding the sidewalk crack. We don’t want to break our mother’s back. She breaks it every day at the La Quinta, cleaning up after lazy tourists. She brings home jars of barely eaten strawberry preserves. When she isn’t looking, we dip our fingers. We are our own freedom fighters, and we race after the rogue chickens, and the Chow Chow who lives by the Panaderia races after us, guarding his sweets. We cross our hearts he does not have rabies. A storm begins to storm, and the gunshots dissolve in the rain. We lope to the sewer drain that has stopped draining, and splish and splash until our mother screams, “That’s how you get ringworm,” and we Charlie Brown inside.
aureleo sans is a gay, non-binary, Colombian-American person with a disability, a writer, and a civil rights attorney, who resides in San Antonio, Texas. He is currently working on a memoir and a collection of short stories. His stories are inspired by magical realism and his childhood spent below the poverty line. His work is forthcoming in Shenandoah, the Boston Review, and the Roots. Wounds. Words anthology.
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