María Warrior of Self

Sometimes
when I wake up
soft and more
of dream
than waking life
I wish
to lick myself
the way a cat
cleanses —
my tongue
over the miracle
of my hands
over the soft plane
that is my belly
down the length
of my legs
my tongue lapping
tender over
my calloused feet
— especially over
my calloused feet
licking with devotion
the arable land
of my back
scooping
the forgotten sweat
behind my knees
seeing what is there to see
the edges at the mouth
the cave that brought
my children forth into life
my tongue over my territory
the way a cat knows
the limits of her fur

More by Claudia Castro Luna

Assiduously

From a coffee cup’s sweet bitterness into cold wind swept knowing that the place you search and yearn for is nowhere, no street names, no city gate. No degrees nor longitudinal measures to speak of. A compass can be useless when you are lost. Nowhere multiplies in your chest ravenous, like yeast. It hurts. The exact second, your shadow on the pavement. Sometimes your life is a minute ahead and a few days behind the place you want to be. Sometimes things align and you want to tear a piece of the shadow as you would a piece from a loaf of bread. But this place you search has no replicable terrain, no map. It moves as you move. A shapeshifter with a tropic of memory, a tropic of fear, a meridian to decide you can and an equator to know you choose.

María Cristina Hanging Chrysalis

What would I do
for a smidgeon
of your rebellion María?
As a woman to trust
the halo of your intuition
I know you know
courage plummets
easily from cliffs of doubt
both imposed and self harvested—
How to make manifest
what the mind knows
but the eye cannot yet see?
How to pluck Hope 
from the terraced gardens
where it grows?
I think about the nature of change
the transfiguration from grain to woman
the audacity of salt to embolden water into ocean
the urge to break free

Epicurean Matters

International and East 14th Tacos Mi Rancho.
International and 22nd Tacos Sinaloa. International
and 24th Tacos Mi Gloria. International Boulevard
asphalt corrido of carnitas and pupusas de chicharrón.
I.C.E. cuotas and remittance receipts. International
and 54th Tacos Los Amigos. Boa de carne asada. Boca
de lengua frita. Census projections. Future vote tally.
And heart, corazón de rábano, red and crunchy and
pulsing with the energy of all of Guadalupe’s children
who are many, muchos, son muchos, muchos somos.
International and 80th Flor de Jalisco. On each
corner, a four wheeled sentinel guarding the memory
of home. Stand in line, home comes wrapped up,
calientito, inside a tortilla. International and 90th Tacos
Union. And though warm, the bitter seeps in.