Joel Salcido

Table Of Contents

Joel Salcido
Table Of Contents

I speak Spanish with an accent
and don't suffer from orgullo
that keeps secrets hidden
in the back of the refrigerator
like last week's frijoles,

as if my mustache weren't the natural bowtie
of Cantiflas, sparse like carne stuffed in a tamal,
as if my nariz weren't prominent, a nopal
growing on my face holding up my glasses,
as if my eyes weren't the Earth brown of Oaxaca--
molé deep, stewing out from a Maya balaclava,

so I wrap my failures in the warmth of a tortilla
slathered with mantequilla to make it easier to swallow,
letting memories soak like arroz for horchata
stirred with canela to wash down the bitterness,
but my hopes are mangoes swimming in sal y limon,
patiently listening for the horn of the elotero
like the trumpets of revelation,
my insecurity is aceite frying chicharrones
cracking loudly like abuela's disapproval,
huevos anointed in the neighborhood's molcajete,
grinding out the sweetness like tomatillos for salsa,
boiling it all in a pot to make Chicano caldo.

Because baking under the Phoenix sun,
hijo of a reformed mojado--
can make anyone snap like a blackened tostada,
charred but still burning inside.