I see dead things now.
My mama, before I arrived, the young
poppy flower growing in the deserts of Mexico.
My mama who grew flowers where there was no water.
My mama before the lions came to sleep in her bones.
When I first told my mother the story of Persephone and Hades,
she told me that she was no Demeter, that her whole life
would have caught fever, that she would have torn apart the
Underworld to get to me.
But she is a woman, and when my father first screamed at her
with all the fury of Tartarus she flinched.
She scooped the water from the puddles to wash off the blue, monsoon.
I see dead things now, like Persephone, queen of the Underworld.
Mama, I ask over her aching limbs, why do we women fall?
Mama, I ask over the sound of my car alarm heart, why did it have to be us?
Mama, I ask, and my father’s arm goes around her throat, what am I supposed to do?
Mama with her kingdoms of hurt and endurance tells me:
“Mija`, because we were born on the floor.
Mija`, because when you pick a flower, you pick the prettiest.
Mija`, remember. Go remember while I fight back.”
And I remember.
I remember the blood in my mouth and how we call it spring,
I remember my innocent past selves, what dead things they are.
But we are women.
We are such floods, monsoon.
We are teeth, sweat and survival, we are queens of the empires that are our bodies,
and like the flowers, we grow back after we have been trampled.
We were born on the floor. This is remembering.
Mitzi Ceballos is a nineteen year old English major and poet. Her writing has appeared in Blind Literary Journal, Half Baked Journal, and Aliteration Magazine. When she isn’t writing, she can be found crying over Achilles and Patroclus, watching Batman the Animated Series, or sleeping. You can find her work at thedovecriesinsanity.tumblr.com.