Three prostitutes sunbathe in their patio
Behind La Zona Roja, the Red Light
District. Sinuous curves barely hidden 
Beneath flimsy, large towels. We are
Watching them, my brother and I.
The early morning light caresses their
Brown bodies, penetrating crevices.
All of them laughing, talking, blowing
Grey clouds of smoke from unpainted lips.
We sit on a nearby mesquite tree, curious.
At 6 and 8 years old, respectively, neither 
Of us has ever been to La Zona Roja or 
Seen naked women. Grandma Lola calls
The place , ‘a kind of hell for lost souls’.
I don't agree with her. Judging by the music
and raucous laughter every night, it seems
To be a place of celebration. Once the sun
Goes down, rancheras, cumbias, and boleros
Travel to our side of the tenement. Brawls 
Almost always break out, then sirens ensue--
Slurred voices blaming their drunk misery on
Everything and everyone. 
I had often wondered about those women 
Grandma referred to as pirujas or whores. Now,
Here they are before us, almost nude, unaware
That two curious kids are looking at them. 
Until one of them notices us, quickly spits out
Her cigarette, and lets loose a stream of foul language.
Without saying a word, we jump off the tree, land
Safely, wink at each other, and run away with a 
Secret we'll never speak out loud.
Julieta Corpus' poetry has been included in various anthologies, such as Writing to Be Heard: Voices from the Chicho, STC's Interstice, and four Valley International Poetry Festival Boundless Anthologies, The Thing Itself, and the Texas Poetry Calendar. Julieta completed her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Texas Rio Grande in May 2016. Julieta is a bilingual translator and hosts poetry events throughout the Rio Grande Valley since 2009. 

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