Self Portrait as Someone Trying to Be Soft

I see my grandma in the man
making the sign of the cross at the edge of the street
Hear the sister I don’t have
checking my card and telling me it won’t work
if I’m coming from across the border
pointing to the empty air behind her
like she heard someone calling for me
I see a baby kissing her mom’s belly
See my mom grow into my reflection as I get upset
I make it okay
I make it make sense
We are all just children riding in the beds of trucks
Holding hands and playing pretend
I see my youngest brother trying coke for the first time at fifteen
I see him in every car I pass getting pulled over
I see myself crying next to him crying to a cop crying next to us
My New Year’s resolution is to cry more
I see that one New Year’s where midnight came
and all any of us could do was cry
My aunts started first then my uncles and when it finally reached me
I couldn’t get the wails quite right (ayayay)
Crying became baptism
and we worshipped until light
My grandma looks likes she’s about to cry
everytime we say goodbye
Her breath hitches at the end of her words like a question
Mija, I love you? Que dios te cuida, OK? I love you?
I love you? Bye?
I see myself reborn a mother, a daughter, a lover, a wife
I dream about stillness
I dream about frozen windshield wipers with their arms pointed to the sky
waiting for me to come home

No Corn, No Country

My family once dug a dirt road and
turned it into a city
The houses settled between mountains
like water like creaks
the rocks in the river free
Here we do not do things out of spite
Dad becomes a mechanic because he wants to
planting trees that look like lambs
while we paint their bottoms white during the summer
for the worms for the mezcal
for the corn and our people
And when I look down from these mountains
that never seem tall enough
Trading height for subtlety
It’s Christmas in the bus terminal at 1:15 in the morning
and Aidan reminds me
there are still good people
My grandparents buy him boots
before our bus ride home and
after 12 years
the dust finally begins to settle