Abuelita’s mother died when she was one.
No one talks about Tatarabuela
or about how Abuelita draws her eyebrows on at dawn.
I saw them once
when I pretended to snore.
Abuelita’s name should be Rocío
because she wakes at 5 to water plants.
My aunts say her name means truth
in some language no one speaks.
Abuelo says Abuelita burned the beans
otra vez. Chepito the Fourth dreams of tortillas
when Abuelo swings on the hammock. Abuelita,
¿pero why you don’t have eyebrows?
Sometimes Abuelita dries her bras on rose bushes.
Doña Ávalos thinks she grows the best roses,
so when they walk to the market
their baskets bounce on opposite sides.
Abuelo cuts our parakeets’ wings and teaches them to speak.
I forgot to feed Chepito the Third for a week.
I said the cat ate Chepito the Second
and when he became dough below my feet
I buried the first Chepito.
Abuelo dips our moons in vodka. Truth is,
before I drowned Chepito the Fourth, I asked him
if he remembered the eggshell
he broke. Abuelita, ¿will you forget
the veins on the back of Abuelo’s hands?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Javier Zamora was born in La Herradura, El Salvador. At the age of nine he migrated to the United States. Zamora received a Bread Loaf scholarship and a fellowships from CantoMundo, Colgate University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Narrative, Ploughshares, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere.
Tim Seibles, a contributor to the debut issue of Huizache, has just been named Poet Laureate of Virginia by Governor Terry McAullife (whose name you might recognize as one of the Clintons’ biggest political partners, but that is another story). We are proud to have shown off his work and prouder still to see his career doing so well!
In my twenty-seven years in this country, I’ve met every sitting President, with the sorry exception of Mr. Obama. They didn’t always meet me, but I met them.
“Can I take the plate now, Mr. Bush?”
“More water, Mr. Clinton?”
Depending on the shift, I was a food runner or busboy, sometimes both. I tried to address each man by name, to feel those powerful syllables crackle in my mouth. Clin-ton. Ray-gun. I tried to act natural, though always with perfect respect. Continue reading →
Feliz 4th, Huizache readers! If you’re looking for music to play while you get your carne asada and firecrackers ready, The Nation has one for you. It’s a list of ten songs that “make clear both what’s great about the US and what still needs critical attention.” At the top of its list is a song that from the “what’s great” category, featuring one of Huizache‘s favorite bands, Los Lobos:
1. Los Lobos with Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir,This Land is Your Land
This rambling version of the iconic Woody Guthrie song was performed July 22, 1989 backstage at the Alpine Valley Music Theater in East Troy, Wisconsin between sets on that summer’s Los Lobos/Grateful Dead tour.
I can’t believe I’ve lived this long without hearing such an incredibly great version of this tune. Props to The Nation for putting it out there! There are some other good ones in there, including one by the El Paso-born (!) songwriter Phil Ochs.