Marisol Baca is the author of Tremor from Three Mile Harbor Press. Marisol’s work has been published in Narrative Northeast, Riverlit, Shadowed: An Anthology of Women Writers, The Acentos Review, among others. Her poem, “Spiral,” was recently nominated for a Pushcart prize. She received a Master of Fine Arts from Cornell University. While at Cornell, she won the Robert Chasen poetry award for her poem, Revelato. Currently, Marisol is an English professor at Fresno City College. She lives in Fresno with her husband in a house in the center of town.
Uncle Albert left their chihuahua
in the Corrales ditch,
when he came upon her dead.
A little thing like that, and mostly blind,
she had wandered and followed the smell of water;
the tiny dog heard the water even if
the ditch had been dry for years.
But Albert, who had two girls at home waiting,
turned and walked away.
I remember that chihuahua sitting on my cousin’s lap.
Turning her head to the side,
sniffing the thick smell of alfalfa.
Uncle Albert smoked a joint in the backyard,
and I saw hundreds of white sparks fall.
Later, a ditch filled with dead wood and leaves,
the dog lying on her side. My cousin sentinelled
over her like an overgrown thistle.
Lend me your ear so that I may
Peach me, you fuck.
Pin-pricks even have codes.
What is the word for that squeak before a moan?
Somewhere out in the cosmos
we are all lit up.
We don’t float,
It’s such a beautiful day, over there.
Eye on the pin-prick.
Like, the pin stays in there, instead.
We find that it has skin growing over it.
One hundred years the grandparents stayed together.
One hundred years on an avocado sofa.
Transfixed on making meaning.
He says, Woman, I.
He always says.
The night moon has a belt around it, or a noose.
Banana leaves spread about the floor,
slick and fragrant.
She loved him more with his back turned.
She said she could hear him calling better.
How can we be there, when we are here?
Suspended in the air, while disconnected and lying on the floor?
What is the best way to recall what has been lost?
He said, Woman, I.
She finally said,
I in-in you.
I was born in a crooked house in Alameda, New Mexico. Across from a field of alfalfa. The alfalfa field was a tangled lush expanse in a desert town. I was too young to go out into it alone. My sister who was old enough would take us with her. It was her world; it was her imaginary kingdom along the sides of the ditch toward a house that was two-storied, to the distant neighbor’s house to play with sickly children. With sticks, we would scrape up the mud and dirt into patterns. We hardly paid attention to anything that wasn’t small. We collected the items necessary to create our mudpies and our rock ofrendas. We repeat the same things now that we are much older.
The line of familial
divided and shipped
and sent away
two hundred years
of our mothers
The fields of the valley go dark,
and there is violence in the summer rain,
a thudding as it hard-hits floor, splashes,
cuts into the vines.
Oh fish. Oh head of the scorpion.
He hands the gift to me; I eat it.
Sopping limb, body, fog,
center swaying into the mirrors,
a dazzling shadow in the mirrors,
blood in my eyes,
when I touch my face there is nothing.
The field takes me back:
blackened grapes bursting, clematis in the veins,
ferns uncoiling in the system’s passages.
I swallow tips of left ventricle,
watch it drain like the valley,
like heart-shaped grape leaves petrifying,
sugar pulp rushing through arteries,
the familial blood lines rushing past,
an arroyo unraveling into a river,
a momentum of salty parts.
And us, now
you in me
you fed to me.
Black birds flying
Feel their hanging bellies,
a fluttering like the fish hearts
the beating, beating
The sun sweats today
all this sacrifice,
iodine on my tongue
a memory of the sea.
Between the leather of vines,
the rodents in the irrigation tunnels.
Bring me back to three chambers,
the scuttle beneath the nerves
Heart eater. Exiled from orange trees;
under the great balanced day,
the heart beating an echo after its lifetime.
He carried it to me,
the branches of the heart;
they still suck, they drink.
Bring me back
into a cave of leaves,
looking for a window beyond the field,
a light in the window.