so you dyed the chickens

one floor stone house, painted a soft coral, bright in the day, sad in the night, an orange tree, guanabana tree, and a vegetable garden pecked about by the chickens, a lone rooster nodding along to its foot steps, cement stove, coal burned fire, an oven dug into the dirt, lined with wood, closed with cement blocks, washing the laundry by the river, hauling it back, little satchel of your vanity tied up, sitting in the clay, laying in the water, watching the blue sky, thinking of dancing, of sewing together the final piece to your dress and one day he will dance with you, and only you

memorizing recipes as you make them, taste them and plate them to hand them over, you liked your little bowl and your big spoon, designated cup with your lip prints on them, the nuns taught you to weave and sew, to crotchet, to knit, your aunties were your mothers, and you were your mother’s apprentice, toiling with her by the stand, making the sweet corn cakes, the rice pudding as she pocketed the money, warmly thanking the workers, sweaty from plowing the fields, and it would buy bags of rice, flour, beans, little chicks, more seeds- no need to ask your father, no need to ask anyone

long hair curled in rolos, dried under the sun, walking here and there, the anticipation of his hand on your hip, a mobile salon, you make house calls, in the pueblo, they tap your shoulder, they name your father, they know you and you have now met them, smile, easy, you are filled with love and gratitude and no matter how sad your little stone house gets during the night, you won’t let it take root to shadow your days

final stitch, pinched cheeks, loose curls hugged in sugar water, ready to go, picked up on a motor bike and your friend is at it again, you laugh, she flirts with the driver, let off into the party, live band, accordion blazing fire, saxophones running marathons, and voices loudly exclaiming to the earth, to the mother, why is she indifferent to their breathing? you spot him, twirling every girl and he watches you take the hand of a friend, and he holds you and you dance, giving joy to his eyes, giving rhythm, a gift from you to everyone

he asks to cut in and you radiate with joy, but boy looks brighter, happier, wanting to spread it around, unable to contain the happiness that pools underneath his lids, and he’s off again, but no shortage on your card, you are a gift, they say, a precious gift to the world

your dreams are premonitions your aunty the santera loved to pick apart, your intuition is keen and sharp, you are a universe holding onto nothing, a perpetual child given chores done to just get them over with, sweeping them aside neatly to go out and play, and he will never love you, and you will never get a chance to know why, for he was found with a needle to his arm, face down in the river

his devastated mother cries and you knew, you dreamed it, you saw the house, you saw him draw the needle, you saw him fall, but something diverted your attention on the way to him and to this day I know, if you were able to go back in time, you would go back to save him, but that is the past, and you cried him dry

there was nothing left to do so you dyed the chickens red, pink, blue, purple, you watched the sun rise and fall, you waited for your mother to be your mother and watched your father plant his seeds in all the pueblos, you forgave him just in time, before he died but it still hurt didn’t it? to be the servant to everyone and not be loved like the gift that you are to this world