Melanie Márquez Adams

Melanie Márquez Adams is an Ecuadorian American writer, author of the short story collection Mariposas Negras, and two essay collections, El País de las Maravillas and Querencia: Crónicas de una Latinoamericana en USA. She holds an MFA in Spanish Creative Writing from the University of Iowa where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow. More recently, her work has appeared in Puerto del Sol, Laurel Review, Lunch Ticket, Huellas Magazine, and Escritorxs Salvajes: 37 Hispanic Writers in the United States. An International Latino Book Award winner, Melanie translated the New York Times bestseller 'So You Want to Talk About Race' for Vintage Español. She lives in Nashville.


Long dark hair draped over me. Curvy body folded, suspended in mid-air. Time stands still. Everything’s frozen. Even gravity. Trapped by naughty, senseless time. Oscuridad. Nothingness.  Threads of muscles and bones spill out of me—drying racks showing off my organs. Lungs, heart, stomach—a swarm of wilted flowers that stretch to the empty horizon bathed in white light. The weight of a scream on top of my head. Grito, grito, but I don’t fall. Held by strands of silk—a cobweb stitched together from my insides. The world has crumbled but I remain, holding on to my scream. Grito. No one left to catch me, nowhere to go, you can still find me in a place some call eternity.

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Rewind 5 minutes
I don’t read the Bible, I say.
I feel sorry for you, he says.
Stained teeth stick out, begging to escape
the stagnant sadness of his mouth.

Rewind 5 minutes
There we are by the avocados, my husband and I,
listening to his rancid stories.
A deceased Japanese wife I resemble,
sweet and beautiful. His perfect doll.

Rewind 5 minutes
We feel sorry for him,
a withered life with no consequence.
Sucking on memories of German parents
and their first-generation American child.

Rewind 5 minutes
I smile politely at a sad-looking creature.
Faded eyes looking at me
from the steel vines of a wheelchair.
Seemingly unharmful. Longing.

Rewind 5 minutes
I walk into the grocery store on a cold afternoon
and look out the glass doors
waiting for a man in love with his non-Bible-reading wife.
I feel a tingle on the back of my neck. I turn around. 

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