- La Medusa, and: La Doña
underwater, beneath my umbrella you’ll feel the sting
After Lilian Kwok
Once we were the halved bowl of sky, once we were sunset clouds. We threw lightning from our bodies, swallowed the tail end of the world. We were All Gut Reaction Strike First Ask Questions Later. Until a riptide swept us into this cove where we roamed toothless, clawless, all heart and no armor. We forgot our songs, our war cry; forgetfulness coursed our veins. We became useless as dried coconut husks, bitten fruit tossed and bobbing in the waves, the fuzzy countenance of a childhood acquaintance. If we could we’d open our mouths and sing you a lullaby, take you in our feeble arms, were there a way to go back. Ghost body, haloed head, we float away, pushed to shore, our gelatinous core poked and prodded at with sticks. We gaze up at the terns and gulls riding the thermals the way we cruised the Gulf Stream. If you touch us with the palm of your hand, our smooth and slippery selves, you will see we mean no harm. [End Page 44]
at a certain age, the lady of the house:
with Lucía de Sola
We’ve become the women I once despised:Victorian ladies in petticoats, riding sidesaddle on shouldersof bare-breasted beasties, filed teeth and claws at the ready.We arch our spines and stretch our arms to bidand the leashed monsters glutted on prideand the urging words of our mothers—aim for the jugular.We pretend, with our laced booties and fine ankles, to sidestepthe eggshell topics on the table, brilliant as it is with our polished words.And we turn the cheek gracefully as hot blood pumps; we drool at the thoughtof the squirming fox, ready with a blow to its brains.It would be an exquisite corpse; the tail so lovely around my neck. [End Page 45]
Winner of the 2015 Coniston Poetry Prize, Alexandra Lytton Regalado is Salvadoran-Miamian. Co-founder of Kalina press, she is author, editor, and/ or translator of ten Central American-themed books. Her poems and short stories have appeared in MiPOesias, Narrative, Notre Dame Review, OCHO, Puerto del Sol, Phoebe, Radar Poetry and elsewhere.