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Shut Your Mouth

By Victoria Buitron

It’s not a baggie, it’s a plump bag of marijuana, plopped on the street two houses over from the new place we've lived in just some months, and it seems like what’s inside might cost at least a thousand bucks but I don’t say this to my mom who is walking next to me, who I had to teach how to use a tampon, because I can picture it already—we are the brownest people on the street—and I imagine a cop arriving who doesn’t wear a mask because it won’t let him breathe, and he’ll refuse to social distance, then I’ll have to explain that no sir, this is not my pot, sir, I just found it here, sir, because who will believe us, on this street where everyone probably says cul de sac instead of dead end, these neighbors who may or may not know that Black people are arrested four times more than white people for marijuana possession, and they already think we play music too loudly in a language they can’t understand, and maybe we'll end up hating each other instead of relishing in the mutual apathy we feel now, so I tell my mom this is none of our business and some pizza-delivery man’s oregano must have fallen from his car and she believes me or at least I think she does, until the following day when my husband confesses he saw the bag while walking our dog, and then a man came in a Mustang, refused to look him in the eyes, grabbed his merchandise off the pavement, left with a tire screech like out of a thriller suburban movie, and I say: of course I saw it, sometimes you just have to keep your mouth shut 'cause—and my mom interrupts me and says I knew it, this woman who’s only smoked one cigarette in her life, who thinks no one on our street could be a drug dealer and who says omaiga instead of oh my god—but none of us say we should have called the cops, since it's not like it was cocaine or human trafficking or someone screaming for help because what good has ever come from calling the cops for cannabis anyway.

Victoria Buitron used to write and travel, but now all she does is write.

Art by Danny Sancho.


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