Always Messing with them Boys
Jessica Helen Lopez                  

Pre-Pubescent Ruminations
from a Tree

I wanted more than dust-speckled dreams and a Daddy who hollered red-spotted commands through a summer-screen door. That time of day, the afternoon brought about only contempt for man-made time.The sun hung from a noose above our heads and I counted minutes like years. Even our dogs draped their furrowed brows low in defeat.

I was hoping for some type of happiness that might roll in on the back of a southern breeze or the slow strut of a Tex-Mex caballero, a border dwelling ranch hand who could dip his tongue into a sweet batch of Spanglish just for me. He would be a romance telenovela in the flesh, one that I couldn’t comprehend because I never did speak Spanish anyways. Nonetheless, my caballero would roll a cinnamonflavored toothpick between a pair of purple-scented Mestizo lips, a fatter cigarillo between his fingers.

I spent those summer days chewing on dusty pinon shells and wondering what another tongue in my mouth might taste like. I spat the shells to the ground and they glistened with my saliva. I spent the idle hours cradled by the branches of my front-yard tree reading about sex in slow whispers and the grind of bark against the back of my thighs. The v-cut shape of a book embedded into the skin, right where my jeans met in the middle of me and me and into me. Had my father ever known the types of thoughts I had slinking about my adolescent brain, he would have cut my very legs so that I may never have left the yard. He would have rattle-chained me to the fence and shorn my hair like a boy. He would have tamed my fire tongue of heat and flame and root by plucking it out and burying it in the backyard. He would have taken the blood for himself if he could’ve.

If he could have.

Or at least that’s how I always figured it.

You could tell me otherwise, but I wouldn’t believe you.