Saturday, November 5, 2011


Not for what was left behind
30 years later, departure salty still
Nor for what I wish to come
Lo que(se)rá será
But for the tight
Between the two
I live at a wake
The lilies on my desk know this
Petals paper thin, crumpled
They breathe simultaneous beauty
And decay
Outside the rain
Burrows deep inside the earth
My grief works the same way
Tunnels dug each day
Alongside lymbic system, cardiovascular highways, digestive tracts
Alongside breath
I remain split
And folks with eagle eyes
And others with doe eyes
Offer hands, skin, as a way of unearthing a truth.

Originally Published in The Womanist - 2011

La guerra tambien se come

Secret Ingredient

Pupusa: traditional Salvadoran dish made of thick, hand-made corn tortilla that is filled with a blend of the following: cheese, cooked pork meat ground to a paste consistency, squash, refried beans or cheese and loroco flowers.

If you have never

Eaten one

you must delay no further

If you have--

You attest

Once upon

it was not easy

to find pupusas…here

but civil war … there

changed that

WAR Cultural Ambasador

brought pupuserias to the US

by 1993 newspapers

listed “Seductive Salvadoran”

in the pages of culinary reviews

Pupusas are eaten with a cabbage slaw called curtido and a watery, tangy tomato salsa. Pour salsa over the pupusa and over that, place the curtido. You will arrive at a combination of hot, moist dense masa with a satisfying filling, a counterpoint to the earthy, crunchy cabbage slaw.

when you eat them

remember the secret ingredient:

a dash of War

worry not

you need not look

for shaker on table

with a WAR/GUERRA label

rest assured it is in every pupusa

and worry not

about paying extra

others already have

shrapnel in leg funeral of cousin with unrecognizable face terror in the eye pounding heart tanks on the way to school bullets ricocheting past smell of burned rubber dogs smelling corpses killing of hundreds left to flies thousands of orphaned children more thousands maimed the tortured the ones who lost their bodies lost minds children left behind mothers raped crossing border fathers waiting for work on street corners faceless

Salvadorans lug


at the cellular level

involuntary action

the women –always women-

dexterously shape masa

into pupusas

and war sloughs off


from skin, spleen

unstable atoms

half lives