I am From


I am from the land of ristras, fiestas, and siestas, the land where “Christmas” can also mean red and green chile enchiladas with rice and beans.

I am from the land

of mi casa es su casa

where they really mean it because

when you sit at their kitchen table

you never leave unfed even if all

they can give you is a bean burrito.

I am from the land

of manana because what’s the rush,

the work will be there tomorrow;

tonight we should laugh and remember

all the weddings and quinceaneras,

all the primos, tias, and tios.

I am from the land

of El Dia de Los Muertos when ghostly ancestors come back to visit, where skeletons grin beside the dulces and the flowers and especially the Tres Equis, where death is a celebration of remembrance and envy that they are gone while we remain behind to dance and weep.

I am from the land

of shadowed lanes like cathedral aisles

beneath pecan trees ready for harvest,

where dry earth is made green by brown water floating and gurgling down the acequia madre out into the fields where white cotton gleams in the sun and vineyards glow with purple grapes.

I am from the land

of Moorish fountains and arches,

adobe walls dappled with shade from cottonwoods, where the mountains change from blue to purple to mauve and orange in the setting sun, where the air smells like creosote when the rains come, a land of slowness and heat, where music is full of passion and sorrow.

I am from the land

where dark eyes and white smiles

evoke memories of other days and other lands, where history sits in the plaza with the abuelas while children run up and down the steps of the bandstand where mariachis play on Sundays, and at Christmas luminaries light the way to peace.