HIJA DE LA COSECHA
spoiled child of root. green leaf. &
fruitful. child of mouthful-harvest.
mouth full of cherry tomato blistering
by the day’s shower of light. full on
lemon juice made to pucker. then
sliced into kindness by sugar cubes.
here vines run feral. the green-sheened
jalapeno trick an army of teeth to burn.
the birds tower the city on tops of
sunflower faces. here the carrots offer
their silent bodies & resurrect when
mouths go hungry. here i savor the
wild blueberry. swirl the sweetness
after each navy pebble pops between
teeth. i remember i was once the child
of broken earth. mouth full on wind
flavored by a mother’s immigrant
dream. coated in lifeless rock.
i crayoned the seeds & stems of things
i had yet to savor . i was fed what was
the vast summer harvest blessed our
mouths. wild onion—their green leaves
like claws bathing in the breath of the world.
tomato stems beasting a tallness no one
foresaw would bare such sweet
balloons of red sugar. & nothing here
floats on their own. the branches knew this
& felt purposeful. dusk made itself known.
& snails hovered taking the lives
grounded by root. peeled the sweet onion without
mercy. then took its neighbor & the children.
swallowed the cherry tomatoes—a broken
string of lights on a christmas tree & no glow
remain. & the branches lost purpose.
overcame by the smallest violence
i plucked each shell-holding-body.
rubber beings clinging to leaf & i plucked
with even more given strength. retreating into
the only home given to them by birth—a prison-weight
on their backs. still i felt nothing. lined one-by-one
across the faded wooden edge of the garden box.
a green village surrounding the guilty. both judge &
executioner i was. raised a brick & let go. their
brittle shells cracking was how my ears understood
the dead. their bodies taken by an evaporating
sky. the ruins of homes remain. but to hold life
then remove it from soil is to costume myself
a deity—a skin not my own & still i acted with an itch—
how often i hear of war & the world itching in someone else’s
skin—feeling nothing but a raised brick at their hands.
Karla Cordero is a descendant of the Chichimeca tribe from northern Mexico, a Chicana poet, educator, and activist, raised along the borderlands of Calexico, CA. She is the recipient of the Loft Literary Center Spoken Word Immersion fellowship (Minneapolis, MN). Cordero’s chapbook, Grasshoppers Before Gods (2016) was published by Dancing Girl Press. Her work has appeared and forthcoming in Tinderbox, Word Riot, Poetry International, The Acentos Review, Toe Good Poetry, among other publications.