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Like a toddler lost in a laundry basket full of dirty towels, the Argentine music dances.

Cuts through the candlelit fog by the lake. Hip-checks the couple swinging in the hammock
from making out—still in their bathing suits from earlier that afternoon.

They fall.

The freshly cut grass sticks to their bodies as they continue to caress … as if fate ordered them
to drop like apples.

Above their heads—nailed to the tree—the cross and Jesus painfully hang. Forced to watch.

But the Argentine music keeps dancing. Finds the shirtless, sweaty young men making and taking bets for the cockfight about to begin, and rubs shoulders with three of them.

They ignore her.

Tear the bottle of Aguardiente from each other’s hands and turn their heads to the rooster being brought out from the barn by the mayor’s sixteen-year-old daughter.

One may say Jesus was trying to turn his head and close his eyes but would have sinned if he had done so.

And through all this the Argentine music dances … no longer in the background, but in front of me.

Trips over my foot from not looking where she was going as she blessed herself trying to wipe the tear from Jesus’ cheek while walking past the cross nailed to the tree.

I offered her my hand but she slapped it aside, smiled, offered me hers, and asked me to join her.

Julián Esteban Torres López (he/him/his/él) is a bilingual, Colombia-born culture architect with Afro-Euro-Indigenous roots. For two decades, Julián has worked toward humanizing those Othered by oppressive systems. He is the founder of the social justice storytelling organization The Nasiona, where he also hosts and produces The Nasiona Podcast. He’s a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions nominee; a Trilogy Award in Short Fiction finalist; and the author of Marx’s Humanism and Its Limits and Reporting On Colombia. Julián’s work appears in PANK Magazine, Into the Void Magazine, The Acentos Review, among others. His poetry collection, Ninety-Two Surgically Enhanced Mannequins, is available now.

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