Inner Constellations by Christina Miranda

Lay your thick, dark hair across your grandmother’s lap.

Take in the smell of the rose oil and melon body wash on her skin.

Pretend you accidentally bit your lip too hard and not that girl from last night. Wait before lingering on that electric shock that surged down your core and your spine for the first time.

Pull your growing smile to a grimace as she presses the cotton ball soaked in cheap tequila onto the white star glowing on your inner lip. You like the way it burns.

Close your eyes to avoid her smirk towards you with one sharply penciled eyebrow raised. She knows what you did.

You wonder if she kissed them the same way you did when she was your age.

Did she get away with it? Or did she get slapped hard like your older sisters? You saw the hot red glow through their cheeks and ran like wild when you laughed.

Hold in your chuckle at your untouched face.

Was it her mother who showed her how to do this? Or was she left to figure it out for herself? The shyness keeps you from asking.

You suck on the alcohol-soaked cotton enjoying the taste of sunshine on your tongue.

Shift your weight to get the sticky summer air off your thighs. You shiver as she runs her rough fingers from your scalp down to your split ends. Feel the star dissolve underneath. Feel it disappear into a hidden constellation.

Christina Miranda a co-founder and literary editor for Latinx Spaces. She has been featured in publications such as Witches Mag (forthcoming), Derailleur Press, and Watershed Review. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BA in English and Creative Writing. She currently lives in Austin, Texas.