The corners of the Terracotta tiles
cut my mother’s feet when she walked
to the kitchen to eat the most exotic fruit
she had ever imagined—
tree-ripe peaches packed
with juices in a can—
and not the guava
she always melted for the pastries.
My mother then placed the empty can
on the stove, added water and began
to cook the rice we ate for dinner
the first night in our new home.
Those grains of rice did not need
cleaning, no specks of dirt or sliver
of rocks to remove, food passed
down from one ancestor
to another reached us in our hunger
where we arrived, huddled raw
in a mass of the uncooked,
only later to be processed,
stripped and overcooked
to an acceptable blandness.
—from Rattle #68, Summer 2020
Melissa Andrés: “Listening to music is an integral part of my writing. The notes and harmonies beckon words into my head. Like a composer, I turn language into poetry and hope that others will likewise find enjoyment.” (web)