by Amy Guth
Maria Elena ached to rid herself of the constant arranging - lining up her things to be in perfect order again and again - and counting - counting the times she blinked, counting corners in each room, counting words in sentences, and felt Santa Dymphna was her last hope. Kneeling in the clearing of juniper, Maria Elena bowed her head and shut her long, black, fringed eyelashes over her dark, troubled eyes. Santa Dymphna, Santa Dymphna, Santa Dymphna she whispered, begging for relief. Her heart beat fast, having run fast from her seventeenth birthday party and its guests, from the laughter and gifts, from the house and hill, to reach this clearing she was sure was the best place to commune with her saints. Through a gap in branches, with the sweet, piney smell of juniper at her nose, she could see from this vantage point only the steeple and cross of Iglesia Santa Miguel, where she was only permitted to attend on Easter and Christmas. Going to mass anytime other than the two holidays were, to her parents, fanatical and impractical, but to Maria Elena, the peek of the building was an ideal symbol of the changes this year brought and the peace she found and so, to her, this view was the best mass she could find.
Amy Guth, author of Pink, has written about blaxploitation, Judaism, feminism, media literacy, bandwagonism, art, cult films, racism, hate crime and social irritants for all sorts of places like The Believer, Monkeybicycle, blah blah blah. She's toodling around at the moment promoting her novel Three Fallen Women and having a very nice time, thanks. ("The Juniper Place" is an excerpt from her new novel-in-progress.) She blogs Bigmouth Indeed Strikes Again. Come say hi.