Image by Zander Bederi

ALTARPIECE

rebecca herrera

a plastic LED candle is the only light in abuela’s
bedroom, illuminating the space like a chapel
thick with prayers and intention. her nightstand
is an altar, tonight- just for tonight.
i’m the one she pulls aside for these secrets.
 

                            in this photo her brothers on the brooklyn
                            bridge, bell bottoms and dark brown hair
                            curled up in a thousand roses.

 
the moon swells over us like a crown. like the
eucharist. the earth lifts and voiceless afterlife
settles his spidery haze on our beaten parkways,
our charred lawns, our shoulders, our wounds.
 
                            the house she left behind to withstand the war
                            was made of concrete. the houses surrounding
                            hers were also made of concrete, and this was
                            because of earthquakes. at the front window,
                            my great-grandmother sold enough pan dulce
                            to line her aprons with cash.

 
                            in this photo- a portrait, she’s black and
                            white. lips black, hair black, skin-light.


a vase with artificial daisies, like the ones abuela
used to craft and sell outside the cemeteries. a gold
beaded rosary, and of course she’s here too. in her
starlit-sky robe, in her jewels, in the shadow of ixchel.
 
in mexico there are celebrations
in the united states there are walmarts
in el salvador there is rain
 
                            in latinoamérica there are cycles.

Rebecca Herrera is a Salvadoran American strawberry-haired girl born and raised in New York. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a bachelor's in Art History and Museum Professions and two associate degrees in Visual Arts and English. She has work published in Hecate Magazine, Stuck in Notes, and the Aurora Journal, and is currently the submissions manager for Horse Egg Literary.

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