Choosing the Animals

By Dariel Suarez


She preferred bees,
their small bodies, delicate wings,
desperate buzzing.
I would help her gather handfuls
in a jar she’d found on the street.
I could never look
when she dissected them,
laid them out on a flat board
like specimens
and smiled triumphantly
at the sight.


One afternoon I brought her
two brown lizards
and she frowned.
They disgust me, she said.
I lifted the lizards
to each of my earlobes
and let them bite.
I shook my head as they dangled,
their bodies slapping
against my cheeks.
I’ll bring you a piece of thread, she said.
We’ll hang them from a fence.


Later, as we chased beetles
and experienced our first love,
I learned her aunt used to drown
newborn puppies in a metal bucket
as they came out of their mother.

 

Dariel Suarez was born in Havana, Cuba, where he lived until 1997. He now resides in South Florida with his wife. He recently graduated from Florida International University, where he was the recipient of five literary awards. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in over twenty publications, including The Florida Book Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, JMWW, Foundling Review, Blue Lake Review, and The Acentos Review. Dariel is currently working on a collection of stories set in his native country and a poetry chapbook.

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