Photo by Russell Lee

Photo by Russell Lee

By Christina Miranda

That smells horrible, what is she rubbing on me?

Of course it’s venom ointment.

“It’s good for you,” Grandma says. “Snakes and bees are a remedy.”

The reassurance doesn’t do anything for the smell of tar that might as well be fifty years old.

“Ándale.” She smacks my back with her bony hands and nudges me off the bed. “Get back to work.”

The sight of the rolling pin shouts hello to me. It doesn’t make me feel better either.

“Fuck you,” I hiss quietly to the counter. Why must it be so hard to make a goddamn circle?

It’s been at least thirty minutes, and I still haven’t placed a single tortilla on the comal. My grandma walks into the kitchen.

“You still haven’t started?” She chuckles and wanders over to the next room.


I’m the only one in my family who can’t make a circle. Maybe I’m defective.

“Mira.” She’s standing right behind me and takes the pin away.

Her hands smell like the venom ointment. It looms in the air, even after she leaves.

It’s perfect.