As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Patricia Perea – Poetry

Angel Baby

for Tiffany Toribio


Far to the east, the Sandias glow in the late spring afternoon.

Caked layers of granite, sandstone, limestone

frosted with k-spar crystals like hardened, pink

sugar. From Zia, this is what she saw,

silent and sacred.

But in Albuquerque, they are too close

their faces scarred and ancient.

They travelled far. These mountains

walked thousands of miles before they rested,

and stretched out to face the setting sun.


She has been nowhere.

because she has been everywhere.

She emerged here.

From the shadow of the adobe,

the baked sand of the mesa,

and the closed fist of her mother,

she emerged


into the pitted streets between Lead and Coal,

walked Silver and Gold and wondered at the mineral

weight that grew from her belly

into her arms.


No one tells this story.


Love like the sand in his mouth

crushes the shape of his breath as she whispers,

“to breathe is the most dangerous thing.

This is the story I tell you:


“Once, we slept deep in the ground.

Our bodies wound together like serpents and rivers.

It was dark and safe.

There was no day or night and that was good.


Eventually, the sun came and it was too bright.

I saw too much. I had no shadow. And you were much

too beautiful.


No one tells this story.

Summer Ritual

for Grandma and Friona


The smell of cedar can break the feed yard.

Some days I smell nothing until she opens her chest.

I’m numb to the sweet sulphur smell of cows.

Her polished nails click against tarnished metal


Then the creek of the hinge and the memories open,

naked and total.

There. A satin ribbon curled around a ringlet of baby fine hair.

And there.

A red and white tassel, its threads thick and tangled.


Look here.


She picks up a newspaper clipping,

irons out the wrinkles between her hands.


I kept this.

We remember this.

It is ours.

Patricia Perea headshotPatricia Perea is a faculty member in the Chicana and Chicano Studies Program at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico. And then the last sentence. Currently, she lives in Placitas, New Mexico. She studied American Studies at the University of New Mexico. Previously, she taught Chicana/Hispana/Mexicana Studies and Native American Studies at the University of New Mexico and at Brown University. Both her academic and creative works have appeared in several publications. Recently, she has been the featured poet at public readings in Taos, New Mexico and in Española, New Mexico. Patricia grew up in the llanos of eastern New Mexico and western Texas. Patricia—a descendant of Coahuila, México, Santo Domingo Pueblo, and the Hispano land grant community of Dilia, New Mexico—has committed herself to working in the Indo-Hispano communities of New Mexico. She has also taken up the long family tradition of weaving. Currently, she lives in Placitas, New Mexico.

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