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[Fiction] Arrives in Santa Fe

Updated: Feb 7

By Viviane Vives


She runs after the ugly truck he made beautiful, talks to trees, bathes in the rivers on the way.  Just like he does. Invoked or not, the gods are there, the desert light becomes silence. Wind.

Taking photos, breathing unpolluted air, chancing upon tomb-scripted Catalans from past centuries, as well as dark-skinned fathers who look at her breasts and hug her, she visits saints and Our Lady of Light, Virgen de la Candela, the promise that will fill everything, one day. Her avi was devoted.


“Remember Topanga, where you finally found a father in the oaks?”

“Angels of my dreams, only thirty-three steps to the word?”


The sisters in the chapel of Loreto say it was St. Joseph, who is also Saint Germain, that built them the staircase without a central pole, without a single nail. There she sits and talks to him. She feels dizzy and her stomach hurts. So much death and betrayal, she hardly reacts anymore. She counts the steps of the staircase.


“Blessing everything after fear, anger, frustration…”

“What about emptiness?”


The wood is not oak, but spruce from cold places. It isn’t known why or how a carpenter who was passing through New Mexico brought a great amount to build this spiral staircase of precisely thirty-three steps, her secret number. To bless everything, you travel a long way.


“Reach out, see it in yourself, in your surroundings. Create. Don’t wait for anyone.” 


It’s a state of grace that overflows, only found in the deepest part. In the middle of the desert. With her meteorite of dead worms that come out of her mouth and ears. 



Viviane Vives  is a filmmaker, actor, photographer, and writer. A Fulbright scholar for Artistic Studies,–Tisch School of the Arts, NYU– she has been shortlisted for the Masters Review Anthology, was a finalist of the Sandy Crimmins National Prize in Poetry, the Pesserof Prize in Poetry, the Philadelphia Stories McGlinn Fiction Contest; a semifinalist of the American Short(er) Fiction Contest by American Short Fiction, a Passager's Honorable Mention and a nominee for Best of the Net Anthology. Publications include Breakwater Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Litro Magazine (London and New York), Burningword, Reed Magazine, Journal of Latina Critical Feminism, and The Write Launch. She writes in both Spanish and English, her first language was French, and part of her family spoke Catalan at home. She learned Portuguese to be able to read Fernando Pessoa in his native language. She has lived in Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Sydney, Perth, and Sant Feliu de Guixols, and is currently back at 'home' in Austin, TX.

Photo credit Viviane Vives


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