INCANTATION ON THE EVE OF 2017, a poem by Monica Rico, featured on Life As Activism

by Monica Rico
Featured on Life As Activism

I turn bread into tortillas.
I leave dried guajillo chiles in my wake.
My hair is wild cilantro.
My footprints are poinsettias.
My tongue is an eagle whose wings will shout.
The fringe of my rebozo is made of infinite braids.
I dare you to touch.
I am a field.
My hands are dirt, my fingernails roots.
Diego Rivera has painted them.
My bones are made of corn and chiles.
My stomach is arroz con frijoles.
My lungs are comino y canela.
My blood is lemon and salt.
In my fingerprints are the spines of nopal.
Each one of my feet has six strings.
My steps are canciones, ground down cigars and ash.
La llorana leads my Mariachi band.
¡Toca la guitarra!
I paint streets the color of mangoes.
My face is all skull and a halo of carnations.
My elbows are molcajetes ready to grind and smash any fool
who tries to build a wall around me.
Watch it crack like a tostada.
My shoulders are black doves.
My eyes are Ultima’s owl, bless us.
It is my comal that will save.
Say my name!
Say La Raza!
We will sing until we raise hell.
¡Otra más!
As Emiliano Zapata chose to stand, we stand.
The statue of Liberty has stepped aside
for nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.
From Her robe fall no tears, only roses.
The crescent moon offers enough light for us to be on our feet
Among the stars,
Among the holy,
Among the mole.
We are America.
Our guitars, our tongues are aimed at you.
Loaded and heavy as fruit, ready to explode.


Hear Monica read INCANTATION ON THE EVE OF 2017 on Cleaver Radio.

Monica Rico is a second generation Mexican American feminist. Her most recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in After the Pause, Sonic Boom, Concīs, and Vine Leaves Literary Journal. Follow her at




Image credit: Cristian Newman on Unsplash


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