Rigorous
Volume Five, Issue 4



animals don’t go to confession

Mauricio Moreno


my mother calls my wife and I animals
for not going to church regularly. she tries
to gaslight me when I rebut and yells
that I never listen and that I’ve grown distant.

How could I not put
miles of desert between us
when, according to her, I’m
of a lower-rank on the food chain

to you? In Spanish, specifically Colombian Spanish,
you can make any insult less harsh
by adding an -ito at the end of the word.
So, when my mother calls me an animal,

for not attending service, she says ‘animalito.’
When my mother questions my life choices
because she doesn’t believe writing is a career,
she doesn’t say, ‘no haz hecho ni mierda.’ She says,

‘Papi, haz hecho muy poquitito.’
When my mother gossips about her friend’s husband’s
brother’s daughter and how fucked her life is,
she doesn’t offer say she’s a fuck up. She says,

Pobresita. She doesn’t know any better’
When my mother guilts me into calling my uncle
because ‘he’s helped me so much’ but forgets
that he’s the same uncle who almost had her killed,

she only says, ‘Dale una llamadita. El cambió.’
When my mother found out I was in therapy,
she didn’t say I’m fucking crazy, she only asks,
“Piensas que te ayudará? No eres un loquito.”

I used to tell me mother a lot. And I don’t
know if I’ve changed as she says I have or
I’m more in tune with her coded speech,
to the peppered judgements, the way she

says Okayy? because she thinks my decision
is stupid, or when she yells because I don’t
ascribe to her logic, or if I somehow am at
fault to every claim she’s filed against me on
Family Court.

But I don’t tell her as much anymore.

I don’t tell her about my depression
or the fights with my wife.

I don’t tell her how I contemplate suicide 3 times a week,
even though I lie on the weekly psych eval. so my therapist won’t ask.

I don’t tell her that her words hurt nonetheless, but I’m not allowed
feel this way because the world sees her as a saint.

I don’t tell her that sometimes I think I’m better off divorced
or widowed so I won’t fuck it up worse later.

I don’t tell her about the smoking.
I don’t tell her about the drinking.

I don’t tell her that some days, the kitchen knives sing to me,
sirens tempting me to open my throat on their edges.

I don’t tell her that the road open up for me at 75mph
and wants me to drive straight into a concrete wall.

I don’t tell her that I’ve researched how much cyanide is
in apple seeds and how many I’d need to take or how easily
they can be bought in secret with next week’s groceries.

I don’t tell her that I sometimes won’t ear just to see
if starvation resembles the emptiness I feel after her call

I don’t tell her any of that, because when I did, she didn’t
speak to me. She sat in the car and told me it was my fault.

She was MAD at me, all the way to the Church, where I sat
with my shame in a hollow box and the grated screen covered up my
sinful face and the man in righteous cloth urged me to pray my depression away,
and add an extra 10 Hail Mary’s because Mary gets off on that shit

So my mother calls me from the other side of a glass wall,
and she asks me if I want to talk to the priest, i’ll tell her
no, animals don’t go to confession.



Mauricio Moreno: “I am a 1st generation Colombian-American artist and writer, originally from New Jersey and currently residing in California. My work has been published in Conchas Y Café, a Los Angeles-based quarterly zine published by DSTL Arts, and is also featured as part of the Summer Literature exhibition in Intercultural Press, as well as Resurrection Press. I am currently working on a novel and am also in the process of publishing my first collection of poetry.”




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