May 3, 2012


I was to be transformed
in a room full of cackling
chickens in their
hair buns under incubators.
Blow driers and
snapping scissors were

My hair was planted in rolls on a soil
of ripe skin that stretched my
so far it forced a smile.

I was to receive
guests—an alabaster
carousel of motions
weaving in and out,
and congratulating.

To be a captain, to sail out;
to be sewn in Italy’s history;
to comb the thick hair of my
and caress the voluptuous curves
of India;
to melt into the night like a swooping

That’s what I wanted.

Was a dove to land
above my shoulder
and shower me until I’d
then pluck away all
and crown me with

I was now fifteen.
But no, there was just
a trickle of

© Paz 2010

A quinceañera is a Latin American tradition celebrating a girl’s transition into “womanhood” on her fifteenth birthday. It is a right of passage celebrated in most Latin American countries, though each country has its individual, differing traditions. For example, Colombian quinceañeras, as opposed to Mexican quinceañeras, are mainly celebrated by the wealthy and don’t have “chambalanes” or “damas”, which are a round house of the girl’s friends (like maids of honor) and their male counterparts chosen for the main waltz. In Colombian quinceañeras, only the father, uncle(s) or brother(s) is/are to dance the main waltz with the honored girl.


One Response to “Quince”

  1. Beautiful – I love this piece.

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