Ode to Tortillas
A poem for Sunday
there’s two ways to be a Mexican writer
that we’ve discovered so far.
you can be the Mexican writer who writes about tortillas
or you can be the Mexican writer who writes about croissants
instead of the tortillas on their plate.
(can you be a Mexican writer if you’re allergic to corn?)
there’s two ways to be a Mexican writer that are true
& tested. you can write about migration
or you can write about migration.
(can you be a Mexican writer if you never migrated?
if your family never migrated?)
there’s two ways to be a Mexican writer. you can translate
from Spanish. or you can translate to Spanish.
or you can refuse to translate altogether.
there’s only one wound in the Mexican writer’s imagination
& it’s the wound of the chancla. it’s the wound of birria
being sold out at the taco truck. it’s the wound
of too many dolores and not enough dollars. it can be argued
that these are all chanclazos. even death is a chanclazo.
there’s only one miracle gifted to Mexicans
& it is the miracle of never running out of cheap beer.
it’s the miracle of never running out of bad jokes.
there’s infinite ways to eat a tortilla:
made in the ancient ways by hand
& warmed on a comal. made with corn
or with Taco Bell plastic. (what about flour tortillas?)
flour tortillas count if you ask San Antonio.
my people i am poly with the tortillas.
you can eat tortillas with your hands or roll them up
& dip them in caldo like my mom does.
you can eat them with a fork and knife
like my bougie cousins do. (what bougie cousins?)
(i made them up for the purpose of this poem.)
you can eat tortillas in tacos or warmed up
by microwave and drizzled with butter. tortillas
con arroz. tortillas con frijoles. tortillas flipped by hand
or tortillas flipped with a spatula. tortillas with eggs for breakfast.
tortillas fried and sprinkled with sugar for dessert. hard-shell
tortillas. gluten-free tortillas for our mixed family. we are still
discovering new ways to fold a tortilla. to cut a tortilla up.
to transform a tortilla into new worlds. to feed each other
with tortillas. my people: if i have children, i will teach them
about tortillas, but i’m sure they’ll want McDonald’s.