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Within An Hour

Within an Hour
for Jack Agüeros
Within an hour she was exorcised.
Doctors and the holy ghost summoned by the family pastor purged what was left of her, replaced it with Prozac. Pumped pills, sedatives, and psalms until she submitted.
The privilege of returning to a soft bed free of straps and buckles sounded promising.
Florescent lights scorched her feathers leaving small acceptable scars below each
shoulder blade, easily mistaken for pox marks.
Melted the halo into her matted bleached hair making for suitable highlights.
Bowed her resolute head to the king of pharmaceuticals:
Repent! Accept your path my child. Here, swallow this…
Tia had forbidden her to cast shells in a town so far from the sea.
There were no plaster statues for her to hide within.
La comadrona who delivered her warned the family about moving to a place
where the last screaming ceiba trees were carved into unforgiving pulpits.
Clutching a copper crucifix she winked,
Certain this compass, this weapon, could emancipate madwomen.
It was only a matter of time until she was running in her gossamer shoes again.

© Peggy Robles-Alvarado. Published by permission in Centro Voices on 24 April 2015.