Petra by Robert D. Montoya

I’d watch you cook with your manteca

in your brown-tiled kitchen

fuzzy chanclas,

paisley-printed muumuu dress.

*

We found that curly black wig

in the hall closet

You started crying

We were just pretending.

*

We’d sort the gravel from beans

Eat potatoes, skin-on

Raw and sandy

We never talked.

*

We didn’t need to.

You’d call me cabrón

Chase me outside with a broom

Where I picked your red geraniums

*

“Le voy hacer frijolitos como te gustan,”

Dry, cracked, like parched land

All the salt I wanted

Baca’d always get the pan, though.

*

Then in your walker, hunched

Still turning tortillas

On the placa

Crushing your green chilés

*

Serving me café con (mostly) leche

Watching telenovelas

Linda Ronstadt in concert

Lighting velas with saints on them

*

Wiping the kitchen table,

Neatly gathering the crumbs

Near the edge

Flinging them on the floor.

*

Then the blue polyester people

Their sheet,

Molded over you

Took you afuera.

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