Stolen and Unnamed

When my grandma died
her sister brought Mexico
in her pocket

a bag full of dirt
and sand that the chickens
hadn’t run over
too much

small handfuls
of home
gunpowder residue
from the pistol she
slept with, beneath a pillow.

I was there to hear the voices
chanting as if on a train

towards Mexico, handkerchiefs
like doves resting and wrapped
in worn rosaries that remember
the last time they saw their sister
young. ¡Qué bonita San Louis Potosí!

she said, no permission given
to her cousin
a thief and a husband.

Michoacán to Michigan where her
eyes became bullets or tulips
in the one photo I have

those same eyes I did not address
as abuela, too scared to lean in for one kiss,
a shiny blood line hidden in my throat

when she laughed
and said, I needed to be tamed, stolen,
and unnamed to taste this food.

Monica Rico grew up in Saginaw, Michigan alongside General Motors and the legend of Theodore Roethke. She has a BA in Women’s Studies and Creative Writing from Western Michigan University and a MA in Creative Writing from The City College of New York. She is an avid fan of space exploration, home cooking, and beautifully tall glasses of champagne. She currently lives in Michigan and works for the Bear River Writers’ Conference.