by Andre De Leon
Abuelita in the kitchen with her skin like wet sand
Covered in skin tags like teabags soaking in her sweat
Her dish soap damaged hands holding a knife, chopping cilantro rhythmically.
Abuelita with ojos de caramelo and wrinkled from old jokes
stands in front of a tall bronze pot filled to the brim with pozole
occasionally spilling over like tears after some salsa cabrona.
Abuelita in the kitchen slaving herself away to keep us all plump and happy
Her heart as sweet as cooking chocolate,
Her spirit as spicy as burnt chiles,
Her laughter as lingering as the taste of menudo,
Her words as soft as avocado,
Her love as permanent as the magenta stains from a juicy beet.
Abuelita has had experiences, tart, like a good ceviché.
Abuelita wears her smile often like an ear of corn.
Abuelita has sayings, dichos, that pour from her throat like lime juice from a juicer.
Abuelita has stories to tell that float in her mind like frijoles de olla.
Abuelita tells the tale of how she met grandpa
How there were butterflies and sugar lips
How there were hairlines and smaller hips
How grandpa married her for her cooking
“The fastest way to a man’s heart is his stomach.” she says
And although she displays a grin,
I know she regrets ever touching the stove
that touched his heart.
Abuelita in the kitchen, enslaved to a culture
Where a man’s hunger is the fastest way to a broken heart
Where the only thing she feeds is his machismo
Where if there’s too much spice in life, you can’t dab it off,
you just eat it and cry.
Abuelita in the kitchen with pots and pans
like chains on her hands
With burned fingers like charred meats
With sweat drops like salt crystals
With years of cooking, only to taste his pride.