By Willy Palomo
To warm her milk, my tías would leave Mama’s pachas
in the sun. At one and a half years old, Abuela Tina lost faith
in the child no remedy could temper, in the bones
unwilling to hold any amount of fat. Love does nothing
for the ungrateful mouth returning all it is given
to the dirt. Love does nothing to stop the recklessness
of our hunger, willing to devour any poison to keep
from seeing its own face. An infant will crawl to their own
death if you let them, choking on cherry pits, chasing
black ants into the road. But she didn’t die, even though
she should have, even though she should not have
taken her first step. It took mi bisabuela to rescue the child
too weak to weep, the mouth reeking of dead milk & baby
breath. That makes mi bisabuela Mama’s first angel.
That makes this the first story in Mama’s mythology.