Your eyes are beautiful, he says.
My eyes are beautiful? she asks.
They’re like little almendras, he says.


They fall asleep in nightmare.

He dreams of a void so big he forgets who he is. He’s a dog digging a hole and the hole keeps growing and growing until his front legs fall from their sockets. The pile of dirt is as big as a house. It morphs into a mountain of rag dolls. Muñequitas feas with missing heads and hands. Dismembered bodies oozing cotton. Ugly little things. And her— a headless body swinging from his jaw.


Can I have your eyes? he asks.
That’s weird, she says.
I can carry them in my pocket, he says.


She opens her eyes and scoops them like a spoon gutting seeds from the uterus of a papaya. Her eyeballs roll in her hand. Two sticky marbles. She wraps them in a rosy ribbon and leaves them under a note: aquí estan tus almendras.

María Esquinca

María Esquinca is a poet and a producer at KQED. Her poetry has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Waxwing, The Florida Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Cream City Review, and others. Her book reviews and interviews have appeared in Adroit Journal and ANMLY. A fronteriza, she was born in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México and grew up in El Paso, Texas. She’s currently based in Oakland, CA.