Back then, she hated the way the little girls clacked their dollar store sandals on the sidewalk
     they pulled each other’s braids.

Back then, she hated the night time because that’s when the worst calls came.

She loved that all her daughters were married but hated the men they chose. She still
     points at their wedding photos above the television when we watch the evening news.

She hated the way the stray cats scratched her porch. She’d sweep them off with that
     old kitchen broom with the red peeling paint.

She made the worst bean and potato tacos in Taos. Me and all my cousins knew the
     sour funk of her pinto beans like a favorite song.

The smell from her pressure cooker would slap us on the back of the head if we tried to turn
     away from it.

Back then, she let her potatoes get soft like baby feet before she peeled them down to the size of
     boiled egg.

They tasted like old marshmallows coated in salt. I used my teeth to scrape the taste off my

Then she heard it–The Taos Hum

Aunt Celeste wasn’t the only one to hear it
She was just the weirdest about it.
Others described it as a
steady buzz,

like an old refrigerator
and they worried,
not because New Mexicans worry,                                         but because only a few in Taos could hear it.
She said it sounded like flies bumping                                                                        against
a windowpane.
Scientists                    from Los Alamos
came and did tests

They set up machines in Aunt Celeste’s home and movedall the pictures of her daughters into boxes.                              She complained on the phone
to her neighbors
about the black monitors with red and green lights that blinked
when anyone talked too loud and the long metal antennas

that never moved an inch,

but always poked her butt
when she walked by.

But nothing ever explained the sound only a few could hear.

So the scientists went home.
They took their gadgets off her shelf,                                                                            and she made them
put her pictures back where they were.

My auntie said she could finally hear what the stars were saying.
She yelled
at the passing cars that interrupted their conversations                                      in the middle of the night.

She started asking
if I had friends with single dads every time I went over for
her disgusting tacos.                       

    She said the hum       told her to have lots of sex   and the stars told her to have     it


          She rouged her cheeks
with lipstick and painted her lips with the juice of cherries                                                                          she ate

             by the pound.

          She still made a vat of pinto beans
          every other day                                                                          and they still smelled like old running shoes.

          After she heard the hum, she
would yell at my cousins and me
        to help her peel potatoes. We never
     helped before,
just ate.
She’d put a grocery bag in the middle
of the kitchen table and tell us to fill it
  with skin, and to tell each other stories
as she hummed along to the sound none of us could hear.