by Jesus Peña
whenever i wear my favorite pair of denim shorts, my father always says they are too tight, too short. he never bothers to ask what alchemy i learned to fit into them. i would have loved to scare him, tell him i mixed blood on leaves and crushed redbones while chanting with a jungle lady to be able to slip into my shorts. but he never cared, and i never practiced witchcraft, and the only redbones i ever saw were from a rabbit’s leg my uncle skinned in front of me, leaving behind a waterbed of blood and fur on leaves. one of my friends tells me i wear my shorts so tight because now i have that “out person mentality.” you’ve found your groove. you found amor, amor, amor. i don’t correct her because i don’t want her to think coming out is not a permanent lsd trip. i’d rather not tell her being gay means life is about fitting, squeezing into place, that you learn to find comfort even if you exist in the space between your palms pressed together. which is what I had to do, which is what i do every time i crush myself into my shorts, which is what my best friend also used to do, but she got tired of tight spaces. and i can’t help but wonder if so will i, if i’ll place a bag over my head to suffocate like her, suck the honey out of my lungs, become handfuls of snow people can hold only for so long whenever they remember me.
Jesus Peña is an MFA candidate at The University of Texas at El Paso. This is his first published piece.