Celebrate Women's History Month with Poetry
By Karla Cordero
When Mama makes cena the smell of my cultura breaks American air.
The Aztec Sun god dances off ancient stone calendar unworried about time.
He sings with feet, turtle shells rattle thunder around earth brown ankles.
Mama stirs the caldo, two hands on serpent length spoon like warrior sparing no mercy.
Smoke signal aromas rise perfuming reverence to ancestors waking tongues of the spirits.
Aztec Sun god drum claps to Mama’s compass motion chanting sacred temple hymns.
We sit as tribe, Papa as chief, caldo waterfalls into ceramic bowls, maize and beans visit our company.
Feast for the mountains. The Aztec Sun god blesses Mexica unity, with eyes ever glowing.
His feathered war bonnet sways eagle strength, anointing sacrificial grace.
Taste my people's history. By the pools of each tablespoon I am finally home, Tenochtitlan.
Papel picado radiates cobweb tombstones.
Surrounding an altar with pan de muertos.
Fresh picked marigolds frame her photo portrait.
Tamarindo dulce and sugar skulls sweeten the occasion.
We wait as Abuela freshens up from her twin bed coffin.
Hides decay beneath her favorite vestido.
Resurrection of incense burn waking spirit slumber.
Abuela’s skeleton hip salsas at night’s moon break.
With calavera faces we celebrate death.
• • • • • • •After spending 18 years of her life in a hot little border town called Calexico, California, Karla Cordero moved to San Marcos in search of opportunity. She studied at Cal State San Marcos, served as the event coordinator for the campus Creative Writing Community and Workshop, and graduated in 2012 with a B.A. in Liberal Studies, with an emphasis in Literature and Writing.
Karla's poetry has been published in The Palm Magazine, Oh Cat, and in several chapbooks, and she has written for Depict Art Magazine. She has also organized social justice-themed readings, and she is currently writing toward an MFA in Creative Writing at San Diego State.
She performs as a spoken word poet throughout San Diego County, sharing humorous yet evocative metaphors for feminism, violence against women, and her experiences as an Hispanic woman. Karla says, "Eve Ensler is my hero!"
Notes Quetzalcoatl image: from the Florentine Codex Dia de los Muertos photo credit: K-B Gressitt