retrospection of a pathetic child | by Luisana Cortez

rusted red bars supporting
gleaming metal that burns in
side of thighs, blistering green
in hindsight; this is not what

i think of when i’m
asked about my childhood:
a low-hung branch that,
before my twelfth year,

shaded the slide,
grazed my muddy palm red,
thrilled soreness in limbs
as i pulsed down, moss-rimmed mouth gaping;
a sun-lit mesh of crooked teeth and feral eyes

maybe the bough sensed the impending blood
and, groping towards the rust,
smacked my paling forehead.
a soiled memory producing

a reminder of another loss:
the happy peeling of my calfs into
ripe lemon crusts,
hammering pinch marks on my rawboned arm,
the blood seeping, sap-like, from

a cain’s mark on this used, reverent head
betrayal from what sustained
this pathetic childhood blurred with
moving, spindly legs slick with mexican sweat.

repertoire of memories; a bucket
brimmed with dirt and plants’ lustful saliva.
warped mirage of the pretty brews i used to concoct
— i can’t ignore the hint of trauma in the oxidized mold
just like i can’t remember the spanish word for slide.



Luisana Cortez is a Mexican-American, seventeen-year-old girl that plans to study English at the University of Texas at Austin. Her works have been previously published in The Harpoon Review and Ghost City Review and can also be found at She tweets @corteeezzz.

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