pom pom soup (a triptych)
My mother dropped too much rice in the glass bowl of meat. The bright parts of it pinked, and the bag of dust sewed my pants under the stove lamp. I set the table and glassed the ice, and I fell in love with Moctezuma from my picture book. I bruised my face to rouge at the table and she couldn’t understand why. Ruffle my neck, mother, I begged of her. Circus lambs twisted my braid in two. I ate the rice. The bleach from her nails spiked the soup like punch, made the meat clean from bone, walking away from its animal. Ruffle my neck, mother. This is still the opening act.
The chicken was born with only one half of her body and on that body half, she was decked with red and black feathers. She spent most of her days clucking on pearls, looking for the other half of a rib cage, a little more sinew, half bobbed wig with synthetic hair, hair she could match on fire anytime she wanted to.
My daughters fought over the last bit of black licorice, pulling the jar back and forth on the table. We grew up together, reading books about babies and long division. The answer was for me to eat the last of the candy, to mother them the best way. I knew this wouldn’t be the last that I’d hear of this and their gnat mouths sugar spun away in the dark.
Monique Quintana: "I am a Xicana writer and the author of the novella, Cenote City (Clash Books, 2019). I am an Associate Editor at Luna Luna Magazine, Fiction Editor at Five 2 One Magazine, and a pop culture contributor at Clash Books. I have received fellowships from the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, Sundress Academy of the Arts, and have been nominated for Best of the Net. My work has appeared in Queen Mob's Tea House, Winter Tangerine, Grimoire, Dream Pop, Bordersenses, and the Acentos Review, among other publications. You can find me at moniquequintana.com."