(I don’t want this poem to be in English)
I once called you rosario,
a crucifijo clenched
in the hand of Abuela
are a stuttering lluvia
que cae al rancho. It cuts
for the roadside skulls
of drunken sons.
I want men to stop leaving her:
for Abuelo Güicho to rise
from cerro-cemeterio. To lift
his sombrero from the living
room, and wrap a handmade
concha in his bandana – a token
for the labores of Mictlán.
To stop seeing grandchildren’s English
hit her face like the steam of store-bought Maizena.
To take this poem
and blanket her
for winters in el norte.
I am afraid to join this male’s betrayal, to open my palms and expose
these polished orbs. Where I recite Allah’s names:
Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim, Al-Malik…I asked an imam,
What is the madhhab of Mexicans
who pray at the feet of a woman,
whose hands jamás did not fold
for an absent man, and instead sunk
their nails in the corn’s earth.
Who slabbed together tortillas
to feed her diez hijos, sang
to the mockingbirds perched
on thin chilitos.
The Gentle, before you call her too,
bless this tasbih that rattles
Make me think of her every time
I hear its rain.∎
Words by Antonio López. Art by Michela Gerardin.