When my grandma died
her sister brought Mexico
in her pocket

a bag full of dirt
and sand that the chickens
hadn’t run over
too much

small handfuls
of home
gunpowder residue
from the pistol she
slept with, beneath a pillow.

I was there to hear the voices
chanting as if on a train

towards Mexico, handkerchiefs
like doves resting and wrapped
in worn rosaries that remember
the last time they saw their sister
young. ¡Qué bonita San Louis Potosí!

she said, no permission given
to her cousin
a thief and a husband.

Michoacán to Michigan where her
eyes became bullets or tulips
in the one photo I have

those same eyes I did not address
as abuela, too scared to lean in for one kiss,
a shiny blood line hidden in my throat

when she laughed
and said, I needed to be tamed, stolen,
and unnamed to taste this food.

First appeared as La Hermana in Poet’s Basement and then in Thank You For Swallowing.