Flor Urbina

Caldo de Camaron

 

Two onions, four tomatoes,

Salt, and a pound of shrimp.

We are making caldo de camaron.

I must hurry,

I repeat the list in my head

As I turn the corner.

Mama doesn’t like itWhen I’m late.

She gets that familiar wrinkle

On her forehead

And dark look in her eyes.

She times me to the minute.

 

Two onions, four tomatoes,

Salt, and a pound of shrimp.

I catch something in the corner of my eye

Just before I enter the store.

It’s him.

Hmph. He thinks I don’t know.

He’s told the whole neighborhood

That I am his.

As if I were

A piece of land.

He doesn’t even have the courage

To speak to me.

Yet we’ve lived across the street

From each other for years.

 

I pity him.

I don’t think myself better than he,

But pity the tough guy act

He puts on for everyone.

It works well for others,

Not for me.

Two onions, four tomatoes,

Salt, and a pound of shrimp.

 

I start back home,

Keeping the time.

As I cross the empty lot next to my house,

I find myself trapped.

It takes me a minute to realize

What is happening?

It’s him.

His arms are wrapped around my body tightly.

I’ve dropped the bag of groceries.

“Kiss Me,” he says.

“I will not. Let me go this instant!” I tell him.

“I will let you go,

Once you’ve kissed me.

Otherwise I have no problem

Holding you here forever.”

The time is running low.

Mama is waiting.

His grip is tightening.

There is no time to argue.

I fear the oh too familiar wrinkle,

I lean in.

 

Our lips move together

In such a way that he was no longer

That pitiful thug.

In that moment, I fell in love.

 

 

Biographical Note for Flor Urbina

 

Flor Urbina was born and raised in North Texas and is currently pursuing a bachelors degree in English literature at Texas Wesleyan University. She plans to teach high school after graduation and currently resides with her husband and two young children.

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