ameer-basheer-gV6taBJuBTk-unsplash (1)

Maribel Is Not Here for You

She gets off the bus at the tenth stop.

She walks one mile. She walks 280 more feet.

She pays in damp cash from the cup of her bra, curled and crunched, soft with the smell of agua de violetas and sweat. Like a baby’s head.

The man at the desk smiles, his maw a creaking, unused thing, but she is turning. She is gone.

In the room, she tilts and falls. She stretches, she spreads. She takes up space with curve and heft. She bends her arms, she opens her legs. She fills the bed, its mattress mottled, sex hollowed. She finds a heat, nestles there, into the soft, musty remembrance of the warmth of bodies on bodies on bodies on bodies on time. She scatters: feet, fingers, curling hair, those bunched atoms between the tip of her tongue and her teeth.

She pushes ghosts aside.

She unfolds. She unfurls. She exhales. She exhales.

Her skin, not golden, but gleaming and yellowed, pocked with freckles and moles and glittering stars and light and folding age, her skin unfurls. Her skin unbinds.

She dips her fingers into the slit at her side, spreads epidermis, dermis, fat, glands, tissue, layers, the layers, spreads the layers wide.

There is a gap. There is a crevice. There is, beneath heart and winged lungs, a cavern, a canyon.

This is where the Earth and the Moon, your mountains, your seas, the red sky of Mars turn. This is where dark nebulas blackout the Milky Way. This is where you tell your stories. This is where dust expands.

She puts her hand inside, pulls a thread and frees your spinning satellite from orbit. Watches it tumble. Watches it burn.

She pulls another. Water breaks, and in your flat, rutted lots, blossoms birth, red and raging. A taking back. Your garbage, stinking land—reborn—is hers now (and again tomorrow and again tomorrow after that).

Her hip shattered from the push, she fingers burning edges, knitting and vessel. Threads of her looping, looping.

She lights a cigarette. She tooths the puckered skin from a bruised plum.

Leigh Camacho Rourks is a Cuban-American author from South Louisiana, who is an Assistant Professor at Beacon College in Central Florida. She won the St. Lawrence Book Award for her debut story collection, Moon Trees and Other Orphans. She is also the recipient of the Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award and the Robert Watson Literary Review Prize, and her work has been shortlisted for several other awards. Her fiction, poems, and essays have appeared in a number of journals, including Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, and Greensboro Review.

Submit Your Stories

Always free. Always open. Professional rates.