Elisa Estrella

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21 Flowers: A Potion for Luck and Powerful Change

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When University of Baltimore MFA grad Elisa Estrella returns to a botánica for the first time in years, she’s nervous as can be. She remembers feeling faint in just such a spiritual space as a child. As an adult, she’s desperately seeking change, so she steps inside.

I moved to Baltimore for a new job in the summer of 2008. About one month after I started work, the stock market crashed, and four months later, so did my new job. Thanks to a referral from a friend in my business network, I got a job working for a small federal contractor in the DC area. It meant a long commute from Baltimore and significantly less pay, but I was desperate.

“I Knew You Loved Me Then”: The Story of My Father

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ElisaDad

In time for Father’s Day this Sunday, University of Baltimore MFA student Elisa Estrella recounts her heartbreaking–but meaningful–relationship with her dad.

I remember once you were washing black car grease off your forearms at the kitchen sink and you smiled at me; once you bought me a doll that could walk if I pulled her arm—you laughed that the doll was bigger than me; I loved you most then; you always dressed in leather wingtip shoes, wool pants, cotton shirts, and a leather jacket when it was cold; you had thin black hair you combed to one side; you were hairy but clean-shaven; I remember you wore Old Spice; you smoked Parliaments; you drank Miller when you watched the New York Mets play; you quit smoking when you developed a cough; you drank Chivas Regal on special occasions; you tried to quit drinking, but no one liked you sober so you went back to drinking; you jogged when you gained weight—and you lost it.