“Fable of the Pack-Saddle Child”


Morning sputters. Calle Bernardo snakes
Along the sea’s periphery.

One street over, Micaela walks to school.
She clutches her satchel and comb. She reaches
into her skirt pocket to pinch her lucky opal.

Micaela is a ten-year-old of a few miracles:
She can point to a bird and balance a passing plane on her finger.
She’s fluent in cat talk and the sign language of trees.
She thinks she can stop her heart by holding her breath.

Micaela’s mother’s black eyes and hair sparkle when she speaks. Her aquiline nose protrudes unabashedly and big, strong teeth crowd her mouth, giving her the curious beauty of a mare. She possesses few unusual or exceptional talents. She can brew liquor on the stove and from that, whip up an ice cream that requires no churning. She owns one pair of scissors, and, with one blade, she can shave a man’s face, poke a hole in a cloudy day, and whistle the “Ave María” through the blade and piece of paper. All of this she can do with one blade.

Tengo mi manera, Micaela’s mother has a way about her. She says so herself, smiling so broadly her red lipstick leaves a half-moon smudge on her front left tooth.

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