As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Rachel Ronquillo Gray

Aubade with Storm, Adobo & Tourist


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

I speak.

Rachel Ronquillo Gray HeadshotRachel 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.


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