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This River Here: Poems of San Antonio

Excerpt: Feeding You

I have slipped chile under your skin
           secretly wrapped in each enchilada
           hot and soothing
           carefully cut into bitefuls for you as a toddler
           increasing in power and intensity as you grew
           until it could burn
           forever

           silently spiced into the rice
           soaked into the bean caldo
           smoothed into the avocado

           I have slipped chile under your skin
           drop by fiery drop
           until it ignited
           the sunaltar fire
           in your blood

I have squeezed cilantro into the breast milk
          made sure you were nurtured with
          the clean taste of corn stalks
          with the wildness of thick leaves
          of untamed monte
          of unscheduled growth

I have ground the earth of these Américas in my molcajete
until it became a fine and piquant spice
           sprinkled it surely into each spoonful of food
           that would have to expand to fit your soul

Dear Mijo, Dear Mija,
Dear Corn Chile Cilantro Mijos
This
is your herencia
This
is what is yours
This
is what your mother fed you
to keep you
alive

(This poem first published in Yapanchitra,Calcutta, India, 2006, by Carmen Tafolla)

 

   

Copyright 2014 - Carmen Tafolla