Kicked my ribs so my insides turned into a clock counting down days until everything changed. Sometimes I wanted to get rid of her and rip out her talons. But somehow I convinced myself that the girl inside of me would be my best friend and that we didn’t need you as much as we needed each other.
She asked for birds. I ate a vulgar chicken in one sitting even though she yearned for creatures with metallic feathers and gold beaks. Once I managed to excite her with a dozen quails. I broke their tiny bones with my fingers and swallowed so she could grow a pair of wings for herself.
I woke up to torn pillows. I made her a dress of white feathers and hid it from you. You came back from your trip just in time. She was born with yellow eyes and golden hair. She shrieked the cry of a hungry eagle. I wanted to belong to her forever.
You named her Renata. You taught me how to change a diaper and how to bathe her in our sink. You did everything right and rocked her into your memorized, far away songs. But in my arms Renata slipped through the gaps.
When Renata turned two you left for Mexico to take of your mother and didn’t give me a return date. What were you trying to teach me? One day she latched onto my breast for too long. My scream split the silence of the apartment. No one came to help me. In dreams, I dropped our daughter out of windows and she burst into grey pigeons with black pebble eyes.
Renata learned to run through playgrounds. She always told the other children how to play. Told them to fly through the forest and flee her poison arrows. Then she would catch them by their wrists and pin them to the ground.
I took her into the bed with me every night to watch her breath. The lights of the city went through her skin. She lit up white in the darkness of our room. The night revealed her true identity: Renata, the girl stolen from the pit of a star. I held her heartbeat in my hands. If I let go, it would go on forever.
- Loretta Lopez
- photo by Alice Pedroletti