Marian Flores


Marian Flores is a writer and nationally recognized leadership coach with a long history of working in U.S. communities of color on issues of social and economic justice. Her writing is rooted in that experience and explores the intersection of exile, spirituality, and identity. She is an alum of the Kearney Street Interdisciplinary Writers Lab, the Napa Valley Writer’s Conference, and the Highlights Foundation's Whole Novel Workshop. A Salvadoran immigrant, she and her wife live in California's East Bay.

Farewell, El Salvador

Never a fighter who slept with a machete under the bed

            I wasn't even a witness to the war.


I was a girl—empty, unblessed, hiding

            in the corner of the painting, watching it all.


When my country married fear, I became a ruin of bones. 

            What could I do but guard my own borders?


I exiled my memories—the ancient turtle lumbering

            across the lawn, the hamaca’s cocoon         


the smell of cheese and corn, the parrot singing 

            Ave Ave Ave Maria Ave Ave Maria Ave 


the priests gutted on the lawn. Now, the map of my country

            unfolds into a history of massacres.


An archaeology of unburied martyrs lies in my heart.

            Dreams of return, passports, and crossings         


divide into endless branching roads where there is

            no one left to hail. Ave Ave 



I’ve Become a Nun Who Lives the Rule of Deprivation


I sit with hunger on the blue flowered couch

not the hunger glucose and leptin make


but the raging hunger for milk

that does not come.

The voracious roar of dame, damelo todo

rails in my mouth

angry longing blooms

red on my skin

my arms streak with welted tattoos

dead signs.


My wife wants to know what I want.

I can only cry

because a decade of denial

has milled the road

that was me in the before times

stripping the asphalt layers

that used to know how to want

even crave, free of the medical censor

the yellow Epipens.


There is nothing she can do, I tell her.

There is nothing to be done, I tell myself.


I enter a hunger strike of water

and salt licked from my palm.


A mother rises inside me

humming a six-note arpeggio

of consolation. She coaxes

me into eating what is allowed.


The loneliness of sweet potatoes

breaks the horseshoe in my throat.


Swallow, my love, I whisper.

Swallow it all

© The Acentos Review 2021