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.