Yessica Martinez


Yessica Martinez was born in Medellin, Colombia and migrated to the United States when she was 10 years old. She studied literature and creative writing at Princeton University and currently works as a teaching artist in her comment of Corona, Queens.

Premonitions at a migrant shelter 

What if that man is one of them, what if he followed me, saw me running away
         through the bushes. I don't want him looking. What if he wants to eat me and
                  my baby, to tie me up raw to a boat. Look how hungry he is. What if

He gets ideas. He must be waiting for me to leave, to catch me alone so he can show
         himself. If I look, he’ll give me a signal. He’ll rattle his tongue or push his
                  fist into his mouth. He will cross himself in my language.

I don’t want to shower, to lock myself in there. The roof is open, the sky too.
         give me the hairbrush, give me the toothpaste. I’ll take care of it right here.
                  If I get on that bus, will he follow me like he has here? Where is the

Line? They said things are different here, that I am in Texas now, safe, across.
         that they are people of God. But, we are all in God’s image. Who can
                  promise? I saw the faces of the naked women tied to boats

My face in them. The men could be any. The roof is open, the sky
         too. I could be anywhere. I am sure that man is one of them. That I am one
                  of the women, that God cares little for his image. But, I am prepared

to hold my face. I will sit here, with my head between my knees. Eyes shut. I will
         not leave. No me quiero ir, no me quiero ir. They say I can’t stay, that I have
                  to make it home. That I can pray.

But, they know me and my language now. I must hold myself.





She says her husband is playing tricks now
morbid games to cut her. No, it’s not like the time
he bought his puta the same bracelet and blouse
and introduced them when their outfits matched.
She says he’s made her into a gangly doll,
that he is hiding her in his pillow sack, using her
to prop up their old couch. No, not like the time
when they first married, and he would ask her
to paint her little sister’s face and sit her between them
in bed. No, she is saying she found a rag doll
hooked to her sewing machine. That she is vomiting
green, that her iris is spilling white sap,
that she must hold on to walls now, that she is sweating
pork fat. 

I see her make melon juice, rice soup. She says
she cooks for him so he will bring food home.
In the kitchen, while she eats, she gnaws on fried
flour. Already, she has moved to the back room.
Still, each night, a body of metal bars climbs
on top. Heavy, it constricts her breathing. Cold,
it stifles her throat. She tells us he is killing her,
that finally he has succeeded in making her a martyr.
Her suffering this ridiculous. Que por dios mio,
esto es un calvario. We beg her to stop paying las brujas
tell her to calm down. Yell that she ends her lies.
There is no way we can believe that.
He can cheat, rape and hit, but black magic
doesn’t exist.




© The Acentos Review 2018