By Julissa Castro Ruiz / Matthew Staff
Mamá said I will never be able to hear los Gigantes again.
They are sleeping, we are awake, and we have betrayed them.
Mamá was wrong I did hear them again, the night la Bruja came.
She took Mamá and made me swear not to tell anyone or I’d be next.
I heard los Gigantes cry, as la Bruja made Mamá a star, one among thousands.
That was my punishment for betraying los Gigantes. But what had Mamá done?
Mamá could talk to los Gigantes, she taught me their mother tongue, but I forgot.
I did not forget, I was ashamed. My friends defined it as archaic and pagan.
They were the same people who crucified an owl in the name of Jesus.
That is why I cannot hear los Gigantes; they only protect their people.
The moment I suppressed my tongue I was exiled, an orphan.
La Bruja laughed; I was vulnerable. She knew it.
Mamá warned us about la Bruja, she had betrayed los Gigantes.
Now her entire family lay at the feet of los Gigantes. Her punishment.
Never wash clothes past three in the morning or she will come, wear your-
Red string or you may catch mal de ojo. Clean the pork with lemon or the demon-
Will never die. Those were things we had to do to keep la Bruja away, our family safe.
But la Bruja came at night, sang to the moon, a promise to get me back on the path of los Gigantes.
Scared, I woke up and went to Papá’s house, where la bruja could not catch me.
He had a cross. He poured lamb blood on the door and oil on my forehead.
I prayed, forgot about the mother tongue, la bruja, and los Gigantes.
There was no place for those Folk tales in this holy place.
Let los Gigantes sleep.
And la bruja die.