My father: roots of lightning inked across his chest, arcing from each nipple to the broad slope of his shoulders. He told me thunder was beautiful when it struck the earth without sound. Said his father hit him because he only wanted to make him strong, to prepare him for a war he would always see coming. I watched him tear out the engine of his Firebird and for weeks the house smelled like gasoline until he left. I watched him plant tulips the colors of sunrise on our dog's grave. I wanted to ask him how sadness moved through his body. Was it a ghost that sat on his chest in the middle of the night? Did it make him feel like he wasn't made for this world, but for another place in another lifetime that he could never visit? At my sister's graduation, he brought his favorite Canon and filmed until the battery ran out. In the undulating crowd, a white woman shouted for us to go back to our country and I pretended not to listen. How much I still want to go back. Father, what were you trying to work so deeply into the ground, past the age that everyone said was perfectly acceptable to retire, to let your body rest? Was it the reason you sang to yourself as you moved through the rooms of our house? About wanting to drive up into the Andes forever and about wanting to stay. About the birds hidden in your chest, where lightning couldn't touch. Father. Tell me about the heart nestled underneath those roots. How much you wanted it pierced open. Was it anything like mine?
's work has appeared or is forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly, Barren Magazine
and Jellyfish Review.
Her short story, "Toguro," won the 2017 Katherine Anne Porter Prize from Nimrod International Journal. You can find her at or on Twitter at @itangeishatrash. She is working on a novella based on "Toguro.