Melissa Castillo-Garsow

Feb 2011


deepish sleep and a woman we both knew emerging peacefully from the ocean. walls

white washed with toxic paint and coyote caca on the dirt path to clarity. The uphill walk

to the university for the radio the downhill walk for the swirling folds of my aztec prance.

i walked those streets with raspados and paletas and micheladas or in pick-up trucks with

caguamas and now i swim. with the woman with the many heads, iridescent serpents

skulls and perfectly manicured french nails i inscribe her now. how easy to think of her to

think of me then, now, that the ocean has turned to turquoise earrings i steal away in my

jewelry box.

Colima a sleepy city surrounded by sleepier towns long leggy gueras (mexicanas) and

inactive volcanos. Colima with too many college graduates and two few jobs and virgin

beaches to steal away to and make love on – or party. what we did before i called you x

so many times in writing. when i dreamed of earthquakes and bright greenish yellow

lizards and a golden retriever named Sparky. missed siestas i called you amor and now,

sometimes i call you homey. still x when phones tap dance and breathe like patriots and I

see your new tattoo. the crumble of old adobe. the shatter of glass when everything fell

down around us and the world went dark. when i realized the darting lizard was steeling

off with my Sunday parillada. it was in the plaza where the conquistadores put their

church and boys and girls still walk in opposite directions seeking. when i first ate a sope

and filled my churro with cajeta and thought tequila sunrises where the answer to


x marks where I swam naked in the ocean. x marks the tree house i will never return to,

wrecked by the aftershocks. i want to smell the salt of the gulf ocean but can’t. so i call

you homey and love you the way i love tecate and tequila the way i remember the

earthquake that broke my bed in two. the volcano erupting like banda music in a quiet

residential neighborhood – still less than that serenata.


Melissa Castillo-Garsow is a Mexican-American writer, journalist, and scholar.  She completed her Bachelor of Arts at New York University in Journalism and Latin American Studies in 2007 and is now finishing a Master’s degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing at Fordham University where she is a graduate assistant for the American Studies Program. Melissa was awarded the Sonoran Prize for Creative Writing at Arizona State University and was a finalist for Crab Orchard Review’s 2009 Charles Johnson Student Fiction Award. She has had short stories and poems published in Shaking Like a Mountain, the anthology A Daughter’s Story, The Minetta Review, The 2River View and has a forthcoming novel with Augustus Publishing. She also has forthcoming articles in The Bilingual Review, Women's Studies, and Words.Beats.Life: The Global Journal of Hip Hop Culture. For more information visit