Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Quién am I?/ Who soy?

Quién am I? Who soy? inspired by Botánica1 pm

In botánica La Ceiba,[1] hay dos como yo, [2] there are two like me more calladas.[3] “Quiet, quiet muchachita,[4] you look más bonita,”[5] says Doña[6] Geno—she owns this shop, I own this air. Due to my name, I like to talk with the tips of my day. Movidita,[7] shake it, shake it and sun reaches better tu tierra bendita.[8]

2 pm

When it comes to sickness, we are the holy trinity that take care of business. And when my redness becomes denser and my pulp, less potent, it means we are done for the day, for the week. Let me rest, dear sister.

3 pm

We search for the light, sometimes blue, sometimes bright. When spring knocks, I move de aquí pa’llá,[9] from here to there and in summer a quieter pace is what I sense.

We all remember the winter of '96. Doña Geno going loca[10] with the broken window and us getting cold with the mad frío of Niu York[11] —that is how they call the outside world.

6 pm

Doña Geno cuts us less since las[12] candles and the spiritual baths arrived at this lugar,[13] but every now and then, de cuchillito[14] crosses mi hoja.[15] Ay, duele un poquito;[16] jeez, it hurts a bit.

Most of the time, I really don’t mind, if you ask for permission when you take a part of me. “Share with us your healing, I sing, te canto.[17] I have this offering, I am one of your kin.” Take care of me, I keep growing; I’ll take care of you, you stay conmigo,[18] with me, with me. Dando y dando, pajarito volando.[19]

Talking about those friends, on a bright day in ’92, a pajarito[20] hid in the shop and pecked me. He was noisy and Millie put him out. Oh my winged man, you left to a drier place!—from whence we came.

8 pm

Since you are here, I’ll give you a consejo:[21] don't be like Millie, who pours water con mucho dejo.[22] Little by little, until you see my soil become moist and together we grow. I already spoke with the iroko[23] about this situación:[24]

“Dear ceiba,[25] can you do something, por favor?”[26]

12 am

When I turned four, I felt the knife for the first time, I was ready for la vida dura.[27] Now that I am ten, I have learned some client’s names. I like Doña Geno, and I wish to live until she fades away. I am an aloe and you are a humano,[28] but I guess we both have the same aim: live in a piece of nurtured earth.

[1] Latino American dispensaries of medicinal herbs, candles and religious items in the United States. The name of this dispensary is “La Ceiba,” which means Silk Cotton or Ceiba Tree.
[2] There are two like me
[3] Silent
[4] Little lady
[5] Prettier
[6] Mrs. Given as a mark of respect
[7] Active
[8] Your holy soil
[9] From here to there
[10] Crazy
[11] The cold weather of New York
[12] The
[13] Place
[14] Small knife
[15] My leaf
[16] Jeez, it hurts a bit
[17] I sing you
[18] With me
[19] You scratch my back and I scratch yours
[20] Little bird
[21] Some advice
[22] With much of carelesness
[23] Although the tree is from the West Coast of Africa, its name is also used as an alternative way to call the silk cotton tree.
[24] Situation
[25] Silk Cotton or Ceiba Tree [Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn.]
[26] Please
[27] Hard life
[28] Human

“Aloe vera is also a cleansing, refreshing, moisturizing, and nutrient for the skin […] Just in case, I suggest that you burn this ‘Perpetual Help’ incense several times a day, and put a few drops of this ‘Come with Me’ essence in your bath water.”

Dolores Prida (2000 [1991]), “Botánica” in Puro Teatro: A Latina Anthology

Aloe barbadensisAloe barbadensis

Family: Liliaceae.
Commonly known as: Aloe vera, burn plant, lily of the desert, elephant's gall and sábila.
Native to: Arabian Peninsula.
Main properties: Demulcent, immunostimulant and anti-inflammatory.
Appears in: “Botánica” in Puro Teatro: A Latina Anthology by Dolores Prida (2000 [1991]).


Lou ParraLourdes Parra Lazcano

Studied: Spanish and Latin American Studies.
Commonly known as: Lou.
Birthplace: Mexico.
Interested in: The kinship that humans establish across species, particularly with plants. I believe they are masters of nature since they were on earth millennia before we humans, and without them, we wouldn’t be able to breathe.
Favourite plant: I honour maize because it is one of the most important foods in the Americas.