I think of my grandmother whenever I delight over rotting corpses and the life cycle of maggots, when I research methods of picking locks, escaping from car trunks, or working myself loose when I am tied to a chair and someone is trying to pull my teeth out with pliers. I think of her when I see unmarked vans with suspicious drivers. I think of her in dark alleys, or when I read news stories of cat murders.
Abu Anis and Abu Alaa insisted, peeling back the mink blankets and lifting their mother between them. She was crying as they carried her out, and I was on the verge of tears, too, glaring intently into the cross-stitch project on my lap.
Mom gave birth to me on the vernal equinox, just as the world begins to bloom, so it was no surprise that I inherited her love for the outdoors. We grew together as twin Persephones, bursting with life at the first sign of crocuses, and shrinking into sullen hibernation as the days darkened into winter.
When they finally arrived in San Ysidro, California, she climbed out of the coyote’s trunk, where she was reborn, right there in the corner of a McDonald’s parking lot, parallel to the gargantuan 405 freeway, which looked that night like the tentacles of an electric octopus—bursts of white headlights and red taillights, swirling and whizzing by, right across the chain-link fence.
When was the first time you saw the sun? Not its winding tendrils, or its luminous glow, or even its radiant essence shining down upon your skin. Not its glare, or its intensity, or its resplendent effulgence—but it.