Lauren T. Davila is a Latinx writer currently pursuing her MFA at George Mason University. She holds BAs in English & Creative Writing from Pepperdine University. Her stories and poems have appeared in Mid-Heaven Magazine and Poets Reading the News. She splits her time between Los Angeles and Washington D.C.
The first time I flipped a tortilla
the scorch marks jumped from
flour and wheat to skin. It bubbled
brown and black onto my palm
and I can’t remember if I
screamed or if I stood silently.
The fire wasn’t from a stove
but a heater at Girl Scouts.
My skin emulsified, the girls
around me didn’t notice
and I burned. Stove or not,
pain feels the same.
Maybe it would’ve hurt less if
I paid attention when my mom
modeled flipping her hands over
an open flame, grace guiding
her as she told me my nana
showed her when she was young.
I say maybe but I know it hurts
more when you’re safe. Fire is
fire no matter the blood running
within or the people around you
or the willingness with which you
offer yourself up to your ancestors.
Testimony of Cetacea
The first time I told you
I’ll leave this world in water
you didn’t have the imagination
because you questioned it and
I didn’t have it in me to say
I’ll submerge instead of drown
in release below the surface
of every single thing we need
I’ll dive beneath the waves
sea salt and soft chiffon on
my breath until, eye to eye,
I stare at a being more myself
then I’d ever know I could be
I’ll chisel saltwater taffy
into its grey, solid heat as
memories transformed to bubbles
to pop the youth we once shared.
Nostalgia fades and I’ll bury, no,
float myself in the excess of
washed up scraps of isolation
because the beast understands
who I am when I dive until pressure
is too much and the whale song
doesn’t need you to translate it
Into irrelevance; it just is who
I am beneath the waves
Nana as Creator
When I was young, I would run my little fingers through the valleys on the back of her hand. They would flutter across mountain ridges and pine trees and the forests of her youth. I would fixate on every sunspot, but she would turn them into picnic benches or a carousel or something equally childlike. She’s let me play make-believe with the veins, spinning them into rivers that flowed, free and wide and full of life. I’d follow the currents and imagine the fish swimming up and down her ring finger, jumping in a wide berth over the gold barrier. I’d canvas the area around her index finger, which always had a silver sheen from rubbing scratchers. Her palm was sweaty and smooth, and she would use it to brush my hair back from my face. I’d pretend to read her future using her love line and she would hold my hand, saying she was too old. Mountains and oceans paled to the colors breaching across her hand, stories of her every day. Today, I still hold her hand, more wired and knobbier and ridges have cut into valleys. Sometimes I pause on her scars. But I keep running my fingers over her hand when she whispers that sometimes forests have to be burned to ash to let them grow again.
From the Editor:
We hope that readers receive In Parentheses as a medium through which the evolution of human thought can be appreciated, nurtured and precipitated. It will present a dynamo of artistic expression, journalism, informal analysis of our daily world, entertainment of ideas considered lofty and criticism of today’s popular culture. The featured content does not follow any specific ideology except for that of intellectual expansion of the masses.
Founded in late 2011, In Parentheses prides itself upon analysis of the current condition of intelligence in the minds of these young people, and building a hypothesis for one looming question: what comes after Post-Modernism?
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By In Parentheses in IP Volume 7
32 pages, published 1/15/2022
IP Volume 5: In Parentheses Literary Magazine (Fall 2019)
The Fall 2019 issue of In Parentheses Literary Magazine