byroN José Sun


byroN José sun is a LatinX writer, photographer, and educator in Oregon. At the age of two, a coyote drifted his mother and him across México. They were undocumented in LA for seven years until they were deported to Guatemala. In the fourth year of their exile, they were pardoned and allowed back into the US. byroN has an MFA in bilingual Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso and is currently attending Pacific University for a masters’ in teaching. His mission is to use creativity to promote a vision of humanity’s compassion, sacrifice, and courage, by exploring life in both violence and nonviolence. He strongly believes the writer mustn’t try to replace the world with a less violent version, but rather present it as it is, and to force people to feel and think of their place in the world.  

Nudo de la Soledad

Like every Monday at six am, old and greedy Doña Matilde tiptoed herself to look through her front door’s viewing window to judge how sunny or rainy the day would be—whatever the verdict; she would still be her grumpy self all day long. While looking out, she saw something that wasn’t supposed to be there. She immediately unlocked her door and walked out to inspect further. As Doña Matilde stood in front of it, her anger was contained in a frozen frown. She didn’t blink. She huffed through her nose and she pursed her lips, while thinking: it is two feet away. Why was it two feet away? And why the front door? She immediately blamed Las Cucarachas who lived across the street en el barrio called El Palomar. Because Las Cucarachas never kept their animals or their pesky little children in a cage. It is dead, it is finally dead, she thought to herself. She recalled that for years that brown mutt scattered all her trash while searching for something to eat. Doña Matilde slingshot rocks at the mutt every time she saw it. Other times, she screamed at the mutt to stay away from her property. She even waited for hours with a bucket of water to pour at the brown mutt when it passed by. What she detested the most was to clean up after it, because the mutt pooped only at her front door. One night the smell of rotten flesh woke her up. After an hour of looking around for the cause of the stench, she found the brown mutt sleeping at her front door. Doña Matilde barked and growl at it with her broom as the mutt ran away. It probably had been in the Landfill where it got all smelly. After washing her front door many times, it wasn’t until a week later that she finally got the foul reek out of her house.

With a deep sigh, Doña Matilde stared at the lifeless mutt with loving eyes. But soon after, her face was filled with hatred and disgust. She asked Jorgito, the drunk of 13th Street, to get rid of the carcass. He refused because she wouldn't pay him what he wanted. On Tuesday, she asked the local kids to dispose of the inflated carcass. But the kids refused, like she always did when one of their soccer balls got trapped in her house and she wouldn’t return it to them. On Wednesday she was desperate, constantly looking through her window to see if it was still there. She didn’t know who else to ask, since she had more enemies than she had friends. Doña Matilde was finally accepting that the carcass wasn't going anywhere, then she remembered that tomorrow was trash collection day. By Thursday morning, she was waiting by the door with her mouth and nose covered. When the trash collector stood in front of Doña Matilde, she got excited, and a smile almost wagged across her face with the thought that the dead mutt was going to finally go in his costal to be carried away on his shoulders. But like the others, the trash collector refused to carry away a mutt that had been dead for a few days. That night, again, Doña Matilde couldn’t sleep obsessing over the dead mutt and how it was making her hate all living things.

On Friday morning, as she caught the scent of her burned eggs—Doña Matilde got the brilliant idea to cremate the mutt’s carcass and that evening she did. The smell of burned hair made people flood the street to see what was happening; most of them thought someone was being burned alive. As people walked by, the sight of Doña Matilde pouring more gasoline over the dead mutt mesmerized them. Other neighbors called her loca, crazy old hag, tonta, and even a witch—but she didn’t care. Once all the smell of burned hair was gone, the meat started releasing a pleasant smell of carne asada, which made some of the witnesses hungry. But after a while the smell of burned meat scared the few remaining spectators. For a few hours, Doña Matilde poked with a stick the carcass to make sure everything burned. When only the ashes and some of the larger bones remained, she swept them into a pile. A few months ago someone gave her a black garbage bag. Doña Matilde didn’t remember who, because she didn’t care. She was saving it for a special occasion, since it was thicker than any other bag she ever owned. With her hands, she carefully placed the bones and the ashes into the black plastic bag. After methodically collecting everything, Doña Matilde carried the black bag as if it were a baby, and placed it next to her bed. That night, for the first time in decades, Doña Matilde slept deeply with the notion that she wasn’t alone in her home any more.



© The Acentos Review 2018