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Louisa Muniz

Childhood Transformation

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When I was ten I sprouted wings. The dark
pulse of dread loomed in the hollow of my smallest
self. I found refuge under the tree of forty fruit, a multi-
blossom hybrid with showy tones of pink.

Slowly the skin on my arms developed follicles.
Feathers rose from tiny pits. Odd sensations
tingled & itched my shoulders & back.
My arms became wings, human & bird bound.

My mother bought me a cuttlebone
& mineral block for my chewing instinct. Friends
left seeds, suet cakes, & tiny insects at my door.
My feathers molting, mother took me to a shaman.

Some had cast a mal de ojo on me & he ordered
me away from wide spaces & twisted
Joshua trees. He said this evil eye has pitched
negative around her. Position a glass

of water behind every door & a small
mirror sewn into her skirt to reflect back
bad energy, absorb evil hounding her.
If not, she may disappear into the sunset

or plummet like a shattered bird of clay.
I molted one last time, the tree of forty fruit
sheltering me. A year later I began nibbling
on milkweed. I ate & ate to quell a new

rooting in my ribcage. Green
fuzzed my face & arms. I sprouted new
wings. Throbbing wings, cleaving
to the light of my darkest wounds.

Last Time I Buried My Body in Silence

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my emptiness grew teeth.
I buttered the blade of sorrow.

How does a body hold light
in a crushed clay jar?

It’s September. The light is supple.
I trundle back to girlhood
a blur of broken shards.

This time Mama came undone.
Perched to jump from a third floor window.
Ready to tripwire earth.

My body glistens pink
a hollowed hum lament
unnamed in throat.

My girlhood bluer than an ocean
weeping bones Her face turning in light.
Darkness afraid to swallow it.

Mama, don’t do it. My gaze devours hers
bringing her back. The morning sun
mimics wonder.

I am from Mama’s spine
where flawed         blossoms grow.
where flawed          weeds thrive.

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