Precautions against El Monstruo

I salsa coca leaves between my molars until my throat forgets

how to trust. I keep reminders unwrapped enough to fill a space

with smell: most tunnel-web-weaving spiders are venomous.

Hollows in the rocks flash flood underfoot after heavy rain but

either keep their secrets or have nothing to tell. Not like down

the mountain where the people’s daughters are cuy and eat

cuy: all chewed up and spit out before someone notices. An extra

four years cling to my skin like a cheap poncho that only welcomes

rain. I avoid eye contact with the orchids, their irises cat-yellow.

The only solace for the chewed up flash flood girls is the market

with its indistinction between broad Inca corn and teeth gargled

in the gums. There, people take notice. They purge the streets of

monsters and stock them again with shit and confetti and other

familiarities. The monsters they release into the mountains,

and the rocks sing the rhythm: chew, swallow, rinse, repeat.



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