On Sundays, we would drive
2 hours down the highway
in Dad’s 1990 Ford F150

The truck smelled of
false advertising—

that is, it smelled of
empty Budweisers in the open cargo
and Marlboro Lights Dad promised Mom he stopped smoking

I held my breath
and pretended I was underwater

Counting down the seconds until
we would sit around the table
eating Great-Grandma’s empanadas


The aroma filled the narrow halls
with 500 years of Galician tradition—

that is, it made you forget
you entered a condo through a wrought-iron fence
instead of a villa in Vigo

Golden flour illuminated the kitchen
the color of early afternoon sun—

that is, it made you forget
the broken light
through the kitchen’s barred windows

and then there was the little Spanish doll
hanging on Great-Grandma’s wall

with curly hair just like mine,

my paper sister with the dark-brown eyes
and a scratchy red dress glued to her body—

that is, it felt like
the ashen cloth seats of Dad’s truck itching my legs
as we drove down the New Jersey Turnpike

one day I’ll get you out of that dress, I promised her.

MARYA LAYTH is an emerging voice whose poetry has been published in the fantasy anthology Fireflies & Fairy Dust and poetry platform Introspective Collective.  

She is currently working on her autobiographical poetry collection Hadal and the Daystar. 

When she is not writing, she is enduring moody glances from her cat in New Jersey and creating content for her shop, The Poetic Forest, where she sells illustrated poetry prints that plant trees in heavily deforested and underdeveloped nations.

Instagram: @marya.layth // Twitter: @maryalayth // Facebook: @laythmarya