The Boiler

Jennifer Mccauley

LA VIDA ES UN CARNIVAL CELIA CRUZ SINGS AT THE UNDERGROUND MALL

AT NIGHT, YOU ARE LIKE LOIZA BIRTHING  
 

[Mornings]

are not for memories. Mornings should be simple and soft: tug back your curtain and God will tumble through the window. Watch Him warm up the room. Mornings are for present, moving. Move.

[On Most Nights]

I set my sleep to past. When my brain is brave, I’ll think of you. You’ll become a flash of ancient feeling. I’ll remember the sun shadows on your cheekbones, the blue-violet smudges beneath your eyes. The tight spaces between your fencepost teeth.

My night unveils you to naked bones. My favorite ghost, I’ll have full access to you.

[Today]

is a beast. I open the door to growling light. On the way to the post office, I see a man with tire grease on his fingers squeezing a dirt-smudged, shirtless baby. The man purses his mouth, blinks at me and tucks his chin down. I don’t know if he ashamed or thinking of something dreary. He reminds me of a story I told you last year. The story: When I was a child, my mother and I were lost in Loiza for a night. We passed by a row of palm trees, bent at the waist, their dewy, verdant hair brushing the roof of a yellow-brick flat. All of the windows in the flat were open, all lamps were on. The flat blazed with light, shivered with sound. We heard several screams, a mewl, a low whine. We peered through the first window and saw a woman on a couch, surrounded by nodding elders. Her legs were spread wide. Her crotch was a nightmare of hands and skin, weird blood and shadow. That crotch spurted half a head. Mami cried out and slapped her hand across my eyes. That was it, the story I told you. You said, “Sounds like a spectacle. You saw a spectacle.” I said, “What do you mean?” You said, “They wanted to be seen. They wanted all of their dirty business to be seen. Or you are remembering things. Didn’t you see that at night?” I thought, what do I remember? What was terrible and what was beautiful? What should I have seen?

[All Days, All Nights]

I stand behind you and watch you morph in the light, change colors in the steel-cold dark.

What should I be seeing?

 

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Jennifer Mccauley is a freelance writer and graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. Presently she resides in Miami, Florida and is working toward her MFA as a Knight Fellow at Florida International University. She is recipient of FIU’s Literary Award for creative non-fiction (2012), and FIU’s Literary Award for Fiction (2013) and earned honorable mention in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Contest for New Writers. Currently, she conduct interviews and reads submissions for Gulf Stream Magazine and interns at The Florida Center for the Literary Arts. Recent work appears in upcoming editions of First Inkling, The Blue Lyra Review, The Florida Book Review, Miami’s WLRN.org, Gulf Stream Magazine and Daily Love.com amongst other journals.