Image of a glowing chairAll my life they called me Cuata. But I was the only one born whole. Mi hermano, Juan, never breathed. But I heard him cry. I read stories to his empty chair. And I felt him there. I pushed an empty swing and sang his favorite songs. I planted spiky cactus so he could watch them grow.

My family went to mass and prayed the rosary on his birthday every year. Forgot it was mine, too. At 15, I ate two chiles because he couldn’t. I lit his chair on fire and sang goodbye to rising smoke. Me llamo Chantico.




Tisha Marie Reichle-Aguilera writes so the desert landscape of her childhood can be heard as loudly as the urban chaos of her adulthood.

Photo Credit: Matthias Weinberger

8 Responses to “Cuata”

  1. wow, you took me to a place!

  2. Mordecai says:

    Loved this

  3. Maureen says:

    Such a beautiful piece.

  4. Michaela Evanow says:

    Stunning. Thank you.

  5. Pam Clark says:

    The desert sings in your story.

  6. Matthew Leary says:

    I almost cried 😭😭 Beautiful story

  7. Juanita Reichle says:

    So cute!!😘

  8. BDC says:

    So impacting. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *