Fall, 2007

Teresa Palomo Acosta

Three Poems

Chicana intifada

Rocks are our weapons of choice,
indeed the only ones that we have stockpiled.
We never worry about running out of them.
After all, our unpaved streets are filled with rocks.
We have wiped the dirt off them so that they may sail
with a smooth hardness when we fling them into the air.
We shall name each one of our rocks for the family members
we have lost each year of the hundreds of years we’ve lived in
these parts—as indios, as mestizos, as “Hi-panics.”
For starters, we plan to break a few windows
of the jefe’s casota nueva.
I myself will be delighted to land one in each pane:
center, left, right, top, bottom—the exact location
doesn’t much matter.
Why should his fancy house remain intact
while we cannot count on running water?

No one will suspect
that an abuela is la capitana of the Chicana intifada,
with her disguise of hat and gloves,
of shiny earrings and sheer “nude” pantyhose;
with her polite yes, ma’aming.

“We’ll launch the first volleys at 6 p.m.,”
she whispers to us. Smiling wryly, she adds,
“Inside the house at a reception to which
I’ve been properly invited you’ll see me
lower my right gloved hand to the marble table.”

The all-pink doily

The all-pink doily,
some five inches
in diameter
resembles fine lace.
It is semi-perfect,
with a slightly off-balanced
ending row,
a question mark its ending coda.
The sunlight
peers through it
when I hold it up to the window on an
August afternoon.
Perhaps it is ‘ama’s signature
at 90 and a half years of age.
I prefer to think it is that instead of an error
in counting rows. My sister-in-law, bent
on perfection, wants her to make
another row to even things up.
I protest—silently. We leave it be.
'Ama’s way is
Picasso’s: invented on purpose, and all the rest.