Mama’s Journey

Te imagino pequeñita
lleno de recuerdos de tu tierra
y el echeri un hermoso rojo
por la frente de tu mente

As the Coyote pried the last keepsakes of
home from your hands,
Your skinny, little body became a tense
frame of tears
You say they took your green journal with
the only pictures you had of home

You would be crossing the river.
You couldn’t bring anything with you.

You have lived so many lives.

You were taken

to tiptoe across sewer pipes

until your eyes met the rivers rapid tongue
Hissing a curse in the wind
onto the sides of your cheek

You forced your hands to pray
like your catholic mother taught you,
head bowed and hands clasped
to every santo you could scramble onto a trembling tongue
You pled for survival
to cross the water’s ravenous jaw.

And you made it across
Under a menacing indigo sky
Pushed in a rubber tire by your Tio Mario
Guided by a moon bright enough
to offer hope
Your 2 youngest siblings seated in your anxious arms
breath barely a quiet whisper in your lap

You ran and hid behind a brick building
dripping in the rivers grief
waiting in darkness until
you were picked up in Laredo
taken to Houston
reunited with all of your siblings
and driven to the soil and sun you would raise me under
17 hours from Houston to our home sweet Chicago

On the drive you are introduced to KFC
small hands scramble into a bucket of warm,
steamy chicken,
Little fingers wrap around hot bone
dripping with grease through toothy grins

You arrive in Chicago’s August heat
Abuelo takes all 8 of you to the store to buy shorts
You spend the day in conversation with Lake Michigan

She is the only thing in this city
that speaks a language of fresh water
familiar to you
like creeks trailing with red clay mud
en las montañas de Michoacán

The Lake listens
tells you all about this city

She teaches you how to pronounce Home
and Chicago
and Mine
in the same sentence
in English.

You learn how to say this
in Humboldt Park
on the city’s West side

Where you will teach me
how to grow into myself
years down the line

I look up to find your fascination
shine through my own eyes
Lunaticas mujeres
Made of all the strange
white light dancing with indigo sky
With voices like windchimes floating through early spring heat

I lay next to you
Counting a blessing
Chanting prayer
for you
For every birthmark I can make out on your body
For every follicle on your head
I realize that all that I am is because you are
Because you stood death fearlessly in the face
And demanded that life be breathed into you

And so it was

And so you are

Mujer Magica
who has taught me bravery:
how to rip apart borders from the soft soil.

Torn Lungs

Our bodies, my mother answers, //
when I ask her what the world reined. The world / tightening / its fist.


Not Estela, /
pigtails & cadence /
of okay mamá...okay papá /
w/o either parent.


Grandma/ What is more radiant than the sun?