The Magician lies to her child. Tells her child, it will all be okay. It will all be okay as she puts her on the Greyhound alone on its way to Colorado. Your Tía will pick you up in Denver. Colorado has snowflakes like you can’t imagine. Immaculate formations gentle and soft in your hair. Let them land on your tongue and you can taste clouds. Let them melt onto your forehead and you can hear rivers slithering and shouting. If you eat snow from the palm of your hands, foam will expand on your tongue and drip down your throat. It will taste like another time, a time when the water ruled over the earth.
The Magician was convinced that the planet Mercury carried her womb in the core of the planet. The Magician was convinced someone was trying to poison her. The Magician was convinced her seven year old daughter only spewed out lies. The Magician’s daughter was fragile pieces of skin and bones. A hunched over body, easy to unravel and grasp by the hair. The Magician heard venomous accusations about the man she adored. In the chambers of her heart, he was skill, logic, and intellect incarnate. He made her heart ache and vibrate and she was in love. She was convinced he was reincarnated from the soul of scientist. Even if he put his hands on the child, he was someone she could forgive because he gave her two, no three, new children. The Magician could feel the wiggle of the third child. A twirling fetus in her warm waters. Every night, she dreamt about name after name and nothing stuck. She woke up with a nameless child in the middle of the night and decided to send her seven-year-old girl off to Colorado.
Her seven-year-old daughter was a mess. She was lost in imaginary worlds. Worlds that woke her up in the middle of the night screaming about being trapped inside a glacier. Her body stiff and blue. Her eyes wide open. Her veins glowing and pulsing inside the ice. The pressure in her chest hot. Her heart throbbed so loud, she could hear it after she woke up. She could feel her bed shaking. How could the Magician trust the words of this impulsive child? This child who grabbed at classmates' hair and cursed at them. She also cursed them. She told them the devil was real. The devil really does pull your feet in the middle of the night. He drags you to Hell and your entire body burns. Hell invites us all inside because we are all guilty of something. How could The Magician look this child in the eye? This child who pisses her pants because she won’t speak up. Why can’t she open her mouth? Why can’t she just tell me what she needs? This child who cries over ridiculous matters. She says she’s afraid of her shadow. She says she’s terrified of birds flying into her bedroom window because they want her eyes. Her mouth spills out mispronunciations of the monsters she thinks exist. Her mouth spills out an ocean of bloated limbs, reaching for words she doesn’t quite know yet.
The phone number of the Magician is written in permanent marker on the forearm of the child. She draws her social security number on her belly and her full name underneath the number of beginnings. The number given to the child as proof she exists. The Magician places her right hand on the child’s forehead and tells her to be brave. She will only be in Colorado for the winter. The Magician holds the staff of a white umbrella, points it toward the sky and tells her child not to look directly at the sun. It will leave bruises behind your eyes. She gives the child mace and the umbrella in case it rains at the stop near Santa Fe. The Magician draws the eternity symbol on the wrist of the child and tells her it’s for protection.
The Magician asks the child if she remembers when her umbilical cord wiggled out. The girl nods her head. She remembers it bounced out of her belly button and into the ocean. The Magician is surprised the child knows this story. She must have eavesdropped on conversations with her abuela. The child tells her mother she is made of earth, air, fire and water. She is made of constellations. She is made of tiny particles in mist. The child repeated what she thought she heard on TV when infomercials claimed to know the future.
The child wears white. She calls it camouflage for the snowy city. She can hide in the purity of a new place. She can act on her impulsive innocence. She can tell the stories the Magician never heard her whisper. She can smile and laugh without being questioned. She can scream the truths calcifying in her arteries. She can pretend she is the real magician and turn into thorny red roses. Something beautiful. Never alone as she embraces the earth underneath with roots reaching deeper and deeper until they become tangled with every creature burrowing secrets inside.
Rios de La Luz's series, Liminal Bruja is a blend of fiction and nonfiction inspired by her life as a queer brown woman and proudly claiming the space her body exists in as she navigates under white supremacist patriarchy. She is the author of The Pulse Between Dimensions and The Desert via Ladybox Books. Her debut novella, Itzá, is forthcoming via Broken River Books in September. Liminal Bruja is a 6-month series on Corporeal Clamor. Her website is: riosdelaluz.wordpress.com