José Enrique Medina


Ausencia didn’t know how to write, so she pushed pins into the cork board to describe the epochs of her body.

Four gray pins recount how she was born, entangled in blanket threads, between her mother’s dead legs. Four black pins: bruises on her heart when her uncle wrapped himself around her like a scarf. Four red: the moment she ran from fifth grade with a flag of blood knitted between her legs.

Touching the pin-head tapestry, she realized, with each event, a piece of her body disappeared. She donated her brain, four white pins, to the patchwork, when she buried her son, who was also her cousin, in his First Communion suit. She pushed her heart, four purple pins, into the board, remembering how, when she was seventeen, she removed the hand of the only man she loved from her chin because she felt she didn’t deserve love.

Almost ghost, she noticed the quilt of her organs formed a perfect square. “Too bad I have four left over.”

One summer evening, she pressed four clear pins, her soul, into cork. A tailspin of color, the quilt swept her through the window. The curtains she had sewn waved after her.



José Enrique Medina earned his BA in English from Cornell University. He writes poems, short stories and novels. When he is not writing, he enjoys playing with his baby chicks, bunnies and piglets on his farm in Whittier, California.