from Huizache #6

Don’t Hold Back

Melissa Lozano

My mother is 21,
conjuring María Félix, smolder
kohl eye.

She is the sound of freeways at rush hour
crashing hips. Hourglassed—an ache.

She wears a beehive of unanswered questions:
Curios, feathers, silences, heart songs, grafted tongue.
Tangerine mouth, pouting
lips. She is engaged to Rubén González.
She is cleaning houses.
She is walking home
late with the moon.

Don’t hold back
She says when she braids my hair
When she rolls tortillas
I roll them into shapes of California.
Her tortillas are as round as records.
When she sings Juan Gabriel
She gives me words to make my dance spiral.
When she chooses me to flip the tortilla and not my sister

Don’t hold back
She wants to call her mother
through invisible telephone wire.

Her lifeline,
a record melted in the sun.
She only knows.

She unravels a thread, motions:
It is good luck when the tortilla bubbles


Melissa Lozano has a BA in English Literature from Mills College. She has studied under and performed with Elia Arce in We Carry a Home With Us and The Fruitvale Project. She is an MFA candidate at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

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