Luz Prepares Her Understudy in a Semi-Autobiographical, Off-Off Broadway Show


I want you to see—this isn't pretend, got it?—the aisles of a Winn-Dixie.

You're ten.  Your brother is crying three aisles over.  You wish


you could drink Drano.  Your mother's wandering down the aisles

with your baby brother gripped to her pants.  Asking every clerk she sees


where they keep the quinoa, but they know her hippie kind, and there's nothing

whole-grain they want to give her except maybe some old-fashioned Christ.


Use some more sway.  You're tiny, I know.  But pretend, no, know

there is no pretend here—you're a Velociraptor behind your glasses.


You stuff grapefruits down your shirt, under your ribcage.

Last week, you kicked your way out of a fight when the kids circled


and said chutzpah after you taught them gutturals, only to spit on you.

But don't forget that you'll be famous one day.


See that man in the bakery section with the paper hat, spanking dough?  Prey.

You're a stick of a thing.  No one's explained sex, but you've read all about it


from science fiction novels, and you understand the necessity of facsimile.

You must replicate yourself, since you don't have the time to sit on eggs.


You sneak chocolate-covered granola bars from the shelves.

Two bites, tops.  You make up for lost meals.  This isn't pretend.


The iodine doesn't know.  Neither does your father, whose job defending

felons assures basic first aid skills.  Hey, boss, he'll say, cocking a smile


two scenes from now, ain'tcha glad you got God?  Remember that you are

only ten and in two years, you will discover Sartre.  Remember that you will be


famous one day.  Hey boss, you practice in front of the onions and potatoes,

ain'tcha glad I can dance?  A baby in a grocery cart screams at his mother,


his red face a squall, demanding Oreos.  You begin to spin a raptor's spin,

invisible entrails in your claws, knitting a new version of yourself, a clone.

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