The Legend of Quintana RooShirley Stephenson
My bungalow is thatched and crooked. Once, I found a tarantula in my underwear. I found a man in my bed. They call me Señor Amor, he said. I don't want love sonnets, I warned. His mouth fell. But your ankle is like a rose. For hours, a rooster gabbled outside my window. When I drew the curtains, I saw a child crying. * * Border patrols stopped us between bonfires. The woman with hair like lava leaned across the seat and spoke quickly— I see how you praise the single place setting and clean sheets but glass shatters in the night and you are water. She ran her nail across my palm and licked her lips. You'll have everything and then you'll have nothing. Except parasites. * * He brought me candles, berries and fleas. He brought me scented soap. Look, he said. Something rough is buried inside because I know how you love to slough yourself away. His tongue ended up in certain high places because I imagined the colors of our skin together. * * Why not stay a while where everything grows larger than you'd think it could? Glands like coconuts, ants heaving coins and one can only guess at the rest. Thrash and holler. The lagoon's changed colors seven times already. The jungle lends itself. * * I found her smoking in a hammock. Love is like an egg, she said. Tuck it away or it cracks and runs. Let it, I said. Everyone wants to fill themselves. Next time, I'll remember there's something unpleasant about fullness. Next time, I'll take something prophylactically. Don't draw circles at your toes, she said. Think of your lonely blue bowl at midnight, the killing power of honey. She touched my hair and ash covered our feet.
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