Continental Drift

by Loria Mendoza

Sleep where you can.

Our mothers’ voices sang from the wedding crystal in the cabinets above our heads. They were talking about the War of the Roses and the summer at The Hotel Flores, while thirty-two shades of blue filled the cracks in our window, snout-shaped patterns we filled with hot breath coronas collapsing on candlelight.

The nails in our shore-worn feet clicked in our sleep, hooked us together tectonically. We were always falling head over heels in and out of bed, disrupting continents, the shores of our appetites rushing forward before coming apart at the seams of our brackish garments. We held our conched fingers to each others’ ears as we fucked, because I wanted destination wedding sex on the beach. You swore we would hear the ocean. But we only heard a body fall to the floor in the apartment above us, and then, nothing.

Sleep when you can: never too much, just enough, only enough.

I kept track of the minutes until the clock fell in the waste bin by our heads. Perhaps the ticking rhythm reminded me of the heartbeat in my mother’s palm as she slapped me over and over across my small fresh face. There was never enough air in the room to cry, Sanctuary, just enough, only enough, to keep me terrified.

Sleep with whomever you can.

And I was no longer so damn depressed, evidently seduced by the brandy in your irises, or the way you helped me remember to breathe. How do we fix our broken chronicles? We never even bothered to fix that damned windowpane. But where does the light shine through? And where does the cold seep in?

Loria Mendoza hails from Austin, Texas, where she learned to keep it weird. Seeking the constancy of the bizarre, she moved to the Mission District in San Francisco, where she earned her MFA at San Francisco State University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Mobius, Maudlin House, Fourteen Hills, Red Light Lit, The Walrus Literary Journal, Transfer Magazine, and featured at Voz Sin Tinta, Bay Area Generations, Pan Dulce Poets, MFA Mixer 2.0, Velro, Oakland’s Beast Crawl and San Francisco’s Litquake. Her first book, Life's Too Short (2017), a collection of stories, won the Michael Rubin Book Award. She lives in Austin, again.