Poetry by Erika Ayón
Apá’s voice pierces through the front door, as we play outside
on the porch taking turns letting a ladybug crawl inside our palms.
Apá is in the kitchen with Amá, screaming about how Mr. Craig,
whose house he painted the exterior of, refuses to pay.
The two story house took Apá weeks to paint. He hand painted
the blue and white trim around all the widows and doors.
He was careful not to spill paint on the black screen doors.
Apá needs the money for the rent.
Apá goes on to say how in Mexico,”Los hombres son honrados.”
They keep their word. If they don’t, you can take the law into
your own hands. He jumps up from the table, enters the bedroom,
returns holding a black case. The case contains the gun
he keeps under his pillow at night.
Apá storms out the door, carries the case tightly underneath
his jacket, rushes past us on the porch, avoids our stares.
Joel whispers, “Is he going to shoot him?” Marissa shakes her head,
eyes watering. I try to shake the thought of Apá shooting Mr. Craig
like he shoots the paper silhouettes of men when he goes to the shooting
range—bullet holes in their chest, their heart, their head.
I release the ladybug and watch it disappear from my palm
into the wet dirt, and wait.
Erika Ayón emigrated from Mexico when she was five years old. She grew up in South Central Los Angeles and graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in English. She was selected as a 2009 Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellow and has taught poetry to middle and high school students. She is currently working on a collection of poetry entitled Orange Lady, which deals with her childhood experience of selling oranges on the streets of Los Angeles with her family, in order to survive financially.