From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism




How to Make Love to a Ciguapa

  1. Wake at dawn.
  2. La ciguapa finds you, but you must first pay her homage. Lore dictates she is tucked in the lush mountains of the Dominican Republic. Try the countryside of Constanza, away from the business of the valley below. Follow the crushed line of cliffs set against the horizon. Your best bet is near the water but not the massiveness of a marsh, or anywhere near the Caribbean Sea (that’s too scary, too beyond for her). Camp near something smaller: Think high tide river stream or a nearby mangrove. A waterfall is desirable. If you’re lucky, you might catch la ciguapa sedentary on a rock, splashing for small fish, fingering a wreath of pinky bones on her neck, or oiling her scars.
  3. Empty your mind. Meditate upon the land that was once ours: from the twitch of the grass blades, the green reflective moths feathering lazily with their silky wings, down to the fertile dirt.
  4. The stillness is your first clue she is close. The trees that were once swaying and the cicadas that were once braying will mum. This is how you know she has found you.
  5. Whatever you do, keep your eyes on her face. Palms will part in the breezeless brush and give way to the sanguine curve of her eyes, black hair dark set, as if night melted unto her scalp. Supple breasts contour her naked body down to the navel, leading to your desired territory—
  6. Look up.
  7. Whatever you do, do not stare at her feet.
  8. Our oral patois say she has backwards feet, but their tomes twisted truths. The sign of the devil. The siren of the mountains. The eater of misbehaved children. We disagree. There’s nothing more beautiful, more ravenous than the mysterious ciguapa, where the feet point to where we once came.
  9. The limoncillo and the mero are her favorite foods. Reach in your pack for the limoncillo first. Bite onto the hard skin until it pops, revealing the peach-colored meat inside. Place it in your palm and deliver it to her. Kneel. Show reverence to the mermaid of the land. Slice the mero next, rip out the gills, and shave off the scales so it is ready to eat.
  10. She will walk to you when she is ready. This could take seconds or hours. Where are your women, you had asked. Her patience will rattle you, but you have waited. To make love to a ciguapa is hard earned and well deserved. She will not disappoint. You asked for an adventure and demanded a good time. She will give you one to remember.
  11. Do not touch la ciguapa. Do not touch her soft chin or swipe a finger on her full bottom lip. Her skin, as if honey dripped from the heavens and hardened into amber, is off limits. Whatever is roiling in your loins is normal, and of course she will be flattered. We are all flattered. She is tempting, we know.
  12. Let her circle you. We invite you to close your eyes as she rustles around you. Curious, she’ll brush a finger on your arm or hips as she hums. Let the lullaby of our lady quell any fear, any gluttony you had towards our goddess. Let her place your head on her womb. The now soft dusk will settle, and it will be too late.
  13. When she eats your soul, it will not be peaceful. A bowl-like gravity will pull you in too far, too in, too deep. Your heart will curse your curiosity and your sick need to ease your boredom on our land. You will be reminded of all the reasons why you knew you should not have embarked into our world, into the depths of our beloved legend, why you even set off on a perilous journey towards your fated death. We asked you to stay, to grab a frost-coated beer on the deck overlooking Constanza from afar and enjoy the easy-on-the-eyes scenery you tourists crave.
  14. Next time do not ask to make love to our ciguapa. She was never a sit-down approach, or an easy fuck. You will not find purchase on her body. No regrets will save you now. The search was your first mistake.

K. Garcia Ley

K. Garcia Ley. A young woman of Dominican and Chinese descent, with long black hair in loose waves, wearing a light, grey textured sweater, sitting in front of an ivory brick wall.

K(atherine) Garcia Ley is a Dominican, speculative fiction author who lives and writes in the Washington, D.C. area. Rewatching Star Wars, chasing her three kids, and cooking vegan meals, are a few of her favorite things. Her short fiction has appeared in Voyage YA, Mermaids Monthly, Daily Science Fiction, and more. Connect with her at