Ayala

by Erica Taylor

 

Oralia said no more jalapeños
jalapeños are bad luck
you need all the luck
you can get
sixteen and pregnant
she said that
I was lucky
sixteen and pregnant
was her her mother
her grandmother
destined to be her sisters too
she said her family is about tradition

Oralia pierced the baby’s
ears at six weeks
with ice and a needle
like her mother did
her grandmother did
the baby cried
I cried
Oralia said
it would toughen her up
she had cried too
once

Oralia named her Belén
Spanish for Bethlehem
she said good names
make good children
she said Oralia
was tradition
was her mother
was her grandmother