Don’t we all know baguan?
Thumb and forefinger pressing into my navel, Doña Lucia issued a command.
“Suéltalo!” she repeated. “Release it, man!”
Then Doña Lucia, a Mexican folk healer (or curandera), pressed the full weight of her body down toward my internal organs, down in the direction of my spine, down toward the floor of the fussy Upper East Side apartment where I lay imagining her hand like some horror from “Alien” pressing through me and out the other side.
“What are you holding onto, man?” demanded Doña Lucia, as a barefoot, turbaned associate of hers darted about us waving a stick of incense and uttering a chant about the breath of God. That one was easy to answer. Was it negative energy I clung to with increasing desperation? It was not. It was a scream of pain.
Once each spring Doña Lucia, a traditional Nahua healer from the mountains of central Mexico, arrives in Manhattan, an apparition out of a Rivera mural in her embroidered cotton huipil, gray hair knotted in Tehuana braids, front teeth outlined in silver half-caps.