La Liberación de los Candelabros/The Deliverance of Chandeliers
Chantel Louise Tattoli


Now chandeliers hang in her adult rooms, like rhinestone earrings dripping from ceilings.

Most don't work, they aren't plugged in, but during the course of the day some of them starburst arco iris onto the white walls. Which is better than if they were plugged. Most of all Hilda likes to come home and slap them with a broom. An idea she got from a minor earthquake, when she didn't get into a doorway, just stood beneath them listening, some of their tentacles dropping onto her head like arms throwing punches.


Hilda was twenty the first time. She came up the stairs of her parents' house and stashed an iced jellyfish under her bed. Otherwise, the bed's honor was unspoiled; the worst, some cockatiel shit in the decorative etches of wheat, from when Bembe would sleep on the headboard, preen, and quote her mother's telenovelas. (With his highlighter orange cheeks and highlighter yellow mohawk, the highlighter pink she painted his talons, the bird looked like a travestido—you couldn't take his word.)


They pried into The Palm with backpacks full of flashlights, beer, and snack provisions. By now, the hotel had been defunct for years. Nice white people didn't come to that neighborhood anymore.

Hilda spread a blanket and sat with her legs folded under her, not bowed like the other girls. 

A lady! Her friends were such pendejos.

Did you bring flatware, too? I like to eat Cheetos with an oyster fork. He jutted his pinky, which didn't make sense so the joke was on him. But she got up and walked away. 

You hurt her feelings, desgraciado

Awww, mami. Lo siento

The same tone as their catcalling. 

Hilda pulled up the fixture by its chain and when she dropped it, it chinked back into a dusty tangle. At home, how much did she like its tinkling, lowering its crystal points to the wooden floor? 

The chandelier crawled into bed with her that night, and she awoke from the sharp impress of its prisms on her thigh. She kicked it off and it went crashing to the floor. Hilda would have played that game of crawl and kick all night if she knew it wouldn't have woken her family up. Instead she locked it in her closet, and by the morning it had folded her clothes in neat piles. For that helpfulness she shook the chandelier for almost an hour. 


Her abuela said she loves the sound of glass breaking because a rock came through the window during Hilda's baptism. The abuela shook her head. You think you is Dios speaking.

Chantel Louise Tattoli has work in or coming from Redivider, PANK, Necessary Fiction, For Every Year and others.

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Detail of photo on main page courtesy of selva.

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