by Ana Velasco

We were riding in the back of a van with the door open
on our way to the old man’s house who was a billionaire
but still considered himself humble. 
My idea of humble was never a mansion
nor cashmere pashminas and mahogany canes,
and it certainly wasn’t
a 7 foot ladder leading to the sky
from the roof of a massive cinder block structure
that had a sign that said WELCOME
so that God or aliens could take the humble billionaire away
My idea of humble also wasn’t me or my family or the way my dad pretended
to still be rich after he lost his money
(he couldn’t
still can’t. Never will
face it)
- pretending that he had the same non-humble humility as this man
who owned this town
that he non-humbly liked to humble brag 
was mainly inhabited by celebrities he could humbly call his friends.
We had to drive for a while in the forest (or the jungle) (or what have you)
to get to the mansion with the          s
I was sharing the trunk with my sister
I was red-face chubby and wore fake pearls and a black sequined skirt and she 
and I wore matching
feather headpieces that made us look
cool, we thought
like, prettier than the women with breasts and legs and ribcages,
I thought
(I hate my love handles (I think))
The car was full because of my dad and the driver he couldn’t stop talking to
and my dad’s first post-divorce girlfriend Marilu
who always tried to buy our affection with tasteless furs and leathers
because for her money = love
(I wonder if she taught my dad to think that way)
but no amount of money could have ever made us like her plasticized face
(my friend’s mom called her ‘Miss Botox’)
or the way she made my dad smell
(like cheap expensive cologne)
or even worse made him close his characteristic gap-tooth 
(I inherited the subtle version)
with veneers
and made him lie to us about it 
or (lie) about going to the spa for a weekend when he was really in his apartment
recovering from plastic surgery he probably couldn’t afford
and definitely didn’t need
(he hasn’t had the same face since)
And we didn’t like her evil-stepmom 
or her evil-step-sister
- who thought she was hot shit because she had a fiancée 
(but her wedding was tacky and her dad is not my dad and I heard somewhere that they
got divorced)
She and her brag-about-fiancée-ex-husband
were also in the car.
They smelled like soap you don’t trust & 
bought-for-scents they thought smelled good
because of the price tag of the bottle.
They made me dizzy and their smells stuck on to you like nausea
but at least they weren’t talking.
We could only hear the hum of my dad’s conversation
and the crushed up gravel of jungle (or forest) rock under the wheels
We could smell oxygen – trees with life in the roots instead of concrete.
Mexico City was never quiet, never desolate, never clean
(not like here at least)
We couldn’t see anything except for speeding hints of wildlife
but it seemed like everything was resting their last sleep of oh-four
and waiting to pretend to begin again
The next morning would be the same – still Marilu and her spike haired poison
enthralling my dad like a viper swallowing its prey,
talking about the horrible tsunami which didn’t feel real in this ocean
.in this beach
.in this car
.near the stairs for God we weren’t allowed to climb.
and I would still feel anger rising towards everything
but as we rounded up the hill to see the humble man
in the midst of the quiet
I looked up to see a sprinkled sky with milk-dewy stars
(more than I had ever seen in my life)
affirming that the universe wasn’t black, but blindingly golden