Took on the Puma

When I eventually tricked you into attending

              my two-man circus I hadn’t thought you’d keep

there long. Maybe I could sell you

              on an act or two—unfasten the rotten teeth

from my head and screw them back in a socket,

              blindfolded. I had hoped the surprise would make

you take your shirt off. It didn’t, my dear, you even sat still as my father

              continued the show—tattooing our family name onto

your arm. He was dressed as El Silbón, exactly like his father,

              and grinned when he offered you a shot from his pony’s mouth.

When you said no the whole tent caved in, trapping you

              until the fire department came. They cut

a meticulous hole. Only for you. But you drew away

              from the first ray which shot through, not as compelling

as it once had been bright across your tidy childhood

              floor. Instead you took the sunken canvas from my shoulders

and by took I mean crammed it down your throat

              until there was nothing left but sky. Sacrificial as any

magic trick. Instead you took on the puma, you took on

              the whip, you took on every sharp part and let them dull.




Laura Espósto is an MFA student at the University of Arizona. Her work has appeared in journals such as Rattle, Word Riot, Bone Bouquet, and Reservoir.