A Space for Writers of the World
In a dream we smoke cloves
wrapped in corn husks & banana leaves.
Nothing ever tasted so good.
The sky is dark with storm, a jungle
of cicada buzz. A plate of tender pork, spicy
sauces pooling under pillow-fluffed rice.
Tourist, you have prepared this meal,
taught to you by my mother and her sisters.
And, because this is a dream, you are me.
In reality, tourists know nothing about our food
or my mother. So I dream my mother and my aunts
have taught me these meals. It is me
learning food, uncovering the body’s secrets.
It is me learning how to hold broth in my mouth
like red wine. It is my tongue learning nothing
is ever too hot. It is me learning to sense tenderness
with my teeth. Now, I learn
to taste the echoed scream of the pig
& I learn how to catch blood,
how to make this so I can taste it, so I can
begin the work of flavoring every word
Rachel Ronquillo Gray was born and raised in rural Nevada, and holds an MFA from Indiana University. Her work can be found in Lantern Review, CURA, Walang Hiya…Literature Taking Risks Toward Liberatory Practice and other places. She is a Kundiman fellow and Backline advocate. Her mother immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines in 1984 and married her father in the Great Basin Desert.