This piece was selected by our guest editor, Joe Russo.
The keratin scythe from my toe pressed against the phone, I called you. Told you I added water from my eyes to the squash soup I made last week.
Growing Pains by Susi Lopera
Blood dripped down my big toe when you told me.
A Facebook group chat, black
letters on a gray box: My sister Anna’s dead, disconnected
from the machines last night at 11:52. My steel
clippers wouldn’t cut deep enough. I ripped off
the dead nail, licked the red—it tasted of freezer
burn, of meat. The keratin scythe
from my toe pressed against the phone,
I called you. Told you I added water
from my eyes to the squash soup
I made last week. Told you my drunk
roommate puked on me yesterday
and I pulled out my eyebrow hairs
as she rolled and mashed the vomit
around her into the gray carpet.
Told you my name means wolf in Finnish
and my computer was 220 degrees
for three days after I used Rita’s printer
when I ran out of ink. Remember,
at that high school sleepover,
when my blood’s pull, like the moon’s,
drew red from between your legs
though you were on pills to suppress
your cycles? Remember two years ago
when the steam from the backyard Jacuzzi
made us dizzy? When we crawled out,
you stumbled, and when I caught you,
you said you were no longer
pregnant, that Joe had gone with you
to the clinic. Now, you say
the dialysis catheter raised bruises
and swollen veins but didn’t clean
Anna’s blood. You say you’d never
noticed before: diabetes, die-abetes.
And I say last week, while hiking,
I found a pigeon’s severed
wings. Without thinking, I tell you
most predators don’t eat them. They
just take the body.
Susi Lopera is from Medellin, Colombia. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas with her family, three silly dogs, and nine chickens. She likes wearing mismatched socks and enjoys talking to herself in British and French accents. Susi is a sculptor who works mostly in clay, but she is trying out the new exciting medium of bronze. She also makes videos and writes poetry. You can check out her art and many pictures of her dogs at her website www.susilopera.com and on Instagram.