On the Avenida San Vicente de Paul
In Santo Domingo when we lived on the avenida San Vicente de Paul we had a dog named Lucky who was always getting into trouble so sure enough one day he ran out into heavy traffic and didn’t die but needed fifteen stitches, and when she saw him, the cook, an unpleasant woman from San Pedro de Macoris – where, it is whispered, more than one person practices the black arts – caught me by the arm and said, They say it will happen to someone in your family, and later, when money went missing we were sure she was the thief, and so in the first orange light of day she picked a virgin bud from the mandevilla vine, placed it in the sun, If this blooms I am innocent, and in the noonday heat the red flower spread its petals wide, but to us the trick was not convincing and we let her go, then beneath the kitchen window we found her plot – mugwort, wormwood, verbena, rue. And here you may think the story ends, but no – ever since, I have asked myself, what if, a day or two later, I hadn’t taken the children to Villas del Mar, where the surf layered fine lines in the sand, where we ate fried fish and drank lemonade, and what if, on the way home, driving at 55 miles per hour, I hadn’t looked down too long at my son who slept at my side, or looked up then, head-to-head with an oncoming car, and what if I had swerved left instead of right – left would have spared us the crash – and what if, when I looked down again, my daughter’s face had not turned to blood?
Most recently, poems by Elizabeth Lara have appeared in The Mom Egg, Edna, Confluencia in the Valley: The First Five Years of Converging with Words, unFold, and The Vine Leaves Literary Journal. She is a member of the Hot Poets Collective, and her work was included in their anthology, Of Fire, Of Iron. In 2011, she was awarded a residency at the Millay Colony in Austerlitz, NY. She has performed at venues in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. She lives in New York and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.