Healing in Oaxaca

In the very same week that I was laid off from work I received my contributor’s copy of Roar—A Journal of Literary Arts By Women. A year and a half ago (before my beloved boss left her job, before my son left for college, before there was any hint of the shifting winds that are now blowing in my face), this magazine accepted a flash fiction piece I had written called “Healing in Oaxaca.” I’d like to think publication is a good omen for what lies ahead.

Healing in Oaxaca

A statue of San Juan Bautista stood with me in a room lit by candles, wax pooling on the floor near sprigs of basil and a fresh white egg. A healer clad in Levi’s poured holy water slowly from a Coke bottle into a widemouth jar then circled, reciting prayers in Zapotec I didn’t understand.

I arrived that morning with an agitated stomach hoping the healer, pale brown and wrinkled like an old iguana, would cleanse my spirit. He lifted the basil to brush San Juan’s body before striking mine fervently from head to toe. The herb’s pungent scent stuck to my skin. After laying the shredded sprigs on the dirt floor, the healer grasped the egg with long calloused fingers and, tapping, released the raw contents into the glass jar. I stood on tiptoes to peer over his shoulder while San Juan stood still in the shadows. The healer smiled at the floating yellow yolk and studied the message delivered by the egg. He turned and for the first time looked me in the eyes. “You are sick,” he said. As if making a toast, the healer raised the jar and nodded, then asked for twenty pesos and left.

“Wait!” I said, too late, as a clump of egg white sank to the bottom of the jar. I wished San Juan Bautista could intervene. My stomach growled. Outside, a woman shooing flies sold chicken tacos fried in oil the color of strong black tea.

For more information about Roar see: http://roarmagazine.org/

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About HomenDunRoamin

Teaching Artist & Writer: fiction, poetry & nonfiction. Recently completed work: a hybrid memoir. In progress: a novel set in an unnamed Latin American country on the brink of war. The book examines violent and nonviolent resistance and the choices women are forced to make to survive.
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