1. What I Know The curve of her hips like twisting tree roots, wide and deep.
Her breasts in ruffled, summer dresses, glistening with openmouthed sweat kisses.
The way her river flows, beneath the arching bridges, past the storefronts and restaurants with late hours and flashing lights, next to the drunks that stumble, dizzy off two lime margaritas on the rocks. Her springtime exuberance, dripping with flower petals and the unrelenting sun. She’s terrible at finishing projects – her highways and roadways and dreams. Her dad, a seven-foot tree towering over me, shakes my hand and tells us to have fun, but not toomuch fun, which makes me nervous because it’s only a sleepover, but maybe he knows? Maybe he knows, though I barely know. The greenbelt behind my neighborhood, the one I was and am too scared to enter, but she goes bravely, and disappears into the canopy shadows. Her wooden spoon. She stirs us all together in a pot of broth and vegetables and chicken, she boils us, she simmers us, she mixes us until we forget we are different, until we forget the world wants us separate. 2. What I Think I Know but Don’t: Her elote, mangonadas, helado, panaderías. The night noises of Pleasanton Road or South Flores Street. Does she wear her hair braided? Natural? Straightened? Her hiding places; shops, restaurants, and car washes with family names and family employees. Her invention of frijoles with bacon, with lard, refried, charro, negro, hot, cold, served on dishes in houses of abuelas and tías and spooned into the mouths of the family tree. How the hill that housed my home and school was a barrier from her truth, and I took her hand with blind faith. She loved me back, even though we barely knew one another.
Briana Gonzalez (she/her) is a Chicana, queer poet, and a student at Texas State University. She has pieces published in Aberration Labyrinth, Coffin Bell Journal, and Ample Remains. Outside of crafting poetry, she enjoys watching the night sky, logging movies on Letterboxd, and spending time with loved ones.