for Cassandro & all the queer exóticos
Papá always counted to three before he’d lay a hand on me.
The sharp stench of tequila slipping through his lips, no
slur in his warning just yet. Uno…dos…tres. & after those four
syllables, en su borrachera, the hands that drove his truck &
turned that wheel, left on my ass palms full of lavender, of lilac.
I felt the pain bloom from my body like a garden that grew
along with me. I wore the work of his fists & palms like a
sundress, sitting in math class, mouthing my own emptiness—
hollowed numbers—as los niños y las niñas contaron in a slow
drone: uno…dos…tres. My petals throbbed & stung & shivered
with each recitation. & outside, on the play ground, I learned
to play patty cake, patty cake with a boy like me, to press my
palms into his, & never leave a flower behind. Now,
I live in the shadows of my own glitter-dusted eyes, wear
purple shimmer like a veil because I grew tired of trying to
fight from behind a mask. I love the spandex, too—shades of
lavender that glimmer like a bruise beneath the lights. Tights
that palm my waist & round ass like cling wrap as I strut to the
ring, squat, & slip between the ropes that bend & pull &
stretch, like our faith when the ones we love most let us down.
But some ropes aren’t meant to hang or bind, but rather to
bring someone back to us with more force. Preferably, a burly,
masked luchador, himself half-naked & oiled up, so I can take
him in my arms, lift him overhead, & throw him down on the
mat. I want to cover all the strongest luchas with my bodyslam
glam in a hot mist of purple glitter to the crowd chanting
uno…dos…tres. & beneath the tights, my body still blooms.