Ramón Ayala Is My Father

By Margarita Cruz

Norteña musician Ramón Ayala is my father, which, is to say is true to some extent by means that my father took my mother or perhaps the other way around in that my mother took my father as they wound their way around a tiny apartment bathroom and a tiny apartment shower where the color of the tile would follow them to their first home in the US as a family where I would trace the grout with my fingers, let the water pour over me as I listened to my parents in the next room fight or sing, sometimes I heard them dance and always Ayala in the middle of their breathing, in the middle of their bed, in the words they whispered to each other at night when they believed me to be tucked away instead of rummaging through their photo albums in the closet, examining the time before me in a jungle I recognized only in dreams—here where in every photo Ayala’s presence was overwhelming; Ayala at the wedding, Ayala at the gas station holding his countless CDs the peddlers would sell my parents, Ayala in the back of a Ford pickup with all of the uncles I remember holding me to the sky to say hello to the abuelos Ayala had outlasted in Tamaulipas where he is still holding parties, still snorting coke in the same fashion as myself—in the dark on some stranger’s bathroom sink becoming lost, him in Mexico and I in Seattle where I am tracing a map of his words into the purple tiles of a stranger’s shower in hopes that someone recognizes that I, too, am a Norteña.



Margarita Cruz is an assistant editor for Tolsun Books, a columnist for Flagstaff Live!, Vice President for the Northern Arizona Book Festival and recently received her MFA from Northern Arizona University in Creative Writing where she exists outside of herself most days at PANK, the New Delta Review, and the Susquehanna Review among others and at @blue_margaritas anywhere.


Art by Margarita Cruz.