Myth by Melanie Rivera
Grandmother was a bent back broom
that knew just enough English
to curse a river to sand
and enough Santeria
to draw blood from a blade of grass.
She loved three of her sons—the eldest
who shipped himself off to Kuwait
first chance he got,
Junior who dropped off the Earth
like a penny from the Empire State,
And my father who died without a degree
his daughters or his natural teeth.
When I was born Thomas Rivera
was sent back to Grandmother
for selling cocaine in the back room
of our one-bedroom apartment.
The man who took his dinner plate
prayed to a ceramic Indian
when the sky turned black.
Milagros never burned my mother
with a black rosary or a bleeding charm
though her last spell broke my stepfather’s Indian
and scattered its shadows all over our house.
For weeks we could hear a hum in the cabinets
terrifying, all the more, in its distance.