Lit Issue 2018 | Poetry

de las mujeres que yo creo (of the women i believe in)

i believe in the matriarch of things. i believe in overdressing. i believe in moisturizing. i believe in red eyeshadow, cute underwear, and leftovers. i believe in the sun. catch me praying to the refrigerator. catch me making hymns out of the windows. i know the goddess of beds personally; we lay together and collect all our suenos; catch us dozing off in the blankets to the soft hum of the pillows. and she believes in overdressing, too. catch us dancing with heels and hoodies. bachata, cumbia, anything by rihanna and the shameful harmony of saying no. i believe in my abuelita. gorditas. picaditas. brujas. freshly painted nails. same hands in the fire. hips orchestrating the circle. the laugh that fills an entire the room, no corners empty of a smile. i believe in the kitchen. abuelita made it sacred. i believe checkered tile floors lead me the way home. i believe in home. yellow bricked. brown skinned. a hug that almost bruises and eyes that don’t look away. i believe in nicknames. mamita, chulita, pinche cabronita. i believe in la verdad, the way my mom tells it. the way my abuelita doesn’t want to but will say it anyway through clenched teeth and bruised voices. i believe in my bed. the goddess and i made it sacred. that’s where all my dreams and prayers have slept and stayed. i believe mis mujeres have taught me everything i need to know. my tias gave me hoops, my abuelita the sun and prayers, my prima chisme; my mom gave me all of her secrets, her how-to’s, her shortcuts, her echale ganas kisses, her knuckles unbloodied. i believe it takes more to kill us. i believe we are angels, wings of gold and broken heels, won’t catch us tripping on the way to heaven, we just fly.

✶ ✶ ✶ ✶

Lit Issue 2018 | Poetry

When I think of Guadalajara, I think of Stars and Graveyard Sand

My grandmother died when i was four. in a hospital while we all slept in her room, all of us children. My mother and her sisters had been gone for a few nights, time seemed infinite. I didn’t know what was happening. She’s dead. It told me as it stood by a plant, Laughed at me, at her.
Un bulto.
my mother tried to clothe me, the next day. i remember refusing the teal sweatpants she wanted to put underneath my dress when she told me that grandma was gone.
Si, mami. ya se. I tried to tell her that something at night had already told me. I just don’t remember what language I used
after her death one night, so dark I couldn’t hear the birds. the graveyard where she was buried a few blocks away. dogs barking. remembering the stories we told of a man who walked the streets with a chain. i walked through the house, parts of the house open to the moon where it could follow me
I climbed, the steps at night. My feet threatening to get stuck in the metal stairs. My mother said that my grandmother had become a star. i found a way to say goodbye.

✶ ✶ ✶ ✶

Lit Issue 2018 | Poetry

Children of the Dead

Trapped monarchs die inside
Before they become dust
It is cruel to see a monarch in
A cage, winged flesh ripped
In the name of nationalism
In keeping the wings white
What a cruel vision
To see fluttering dreams
Encased.
Have you ever held a child’s
hand?
Told them, no
So sternly?
Stripping them of humanity?

Lit Issue 2018 | Poetry

Where I’m From

The following works emerged from a semester-long workshop offered this past spring at Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project (PNAP) entitled “Mapping the Self in Community.” The workshop was facilitated by Audrey Petty, Jill Petty, and Miriam Petty. The description is included below:

Lit Issue 2018 | Poetry

Time Travel: J.C. Penney Photo Studio, 1994

this photo wasn’t planned:
we’re just here
for my son’s annual
picture to be mailed
with Christmas cards
he’s three now
wearing a rainbow patchwork shirt
hugging Big Bird
Jennie my bestfriend
in blue-flowered top
sitting in her electric
wheelchair
I’m in raggedy
faded t-shirt
never expecting
“Hey, why don’t I take the three of you?”
my arms encircle
my son and my friend
my curly-haired son’s smile
beams trust
Jennie looks ready to laugh
and I’m grinning innocent
Jennie would die in four years
I’d lose my father and another friend
but in this moment
I have the world

Lit Issue 2018 | Poetry

a sudden spring (Nichols Park in May)

running daisy chains
up my spine,
sunlight halos
on our heads.
pounding feet
against new green
& crows above
singing the direction
of the wind.
the tingle
of small, excited hands
set to gathering.
we tread edges
of parks,
climb bottoms
of trees,
follow the skuttle
of forgotten tennis balls.
we string Ravyn Lenae
between our ears,
lulled by the
sudden sun.
afternoon kaleidoscope of
watching
running
resting
reading.
heartstrings drawn,
a fluid triangle
invading green spaces
like curious amoeba