Letter to my Mother

by Al Preciado
copyright 2010
Dear Mother,
This winter in Jersey kicked my ass
Left me gasping for sunshine
the way a drowning rat reaches for air
from the top  of a water-filled sewer
This winter hammered me like an angry Thor
Left me with a flu so hard I saw visions
Visions that floated from the past
like the white butterflies of my youth
Visions of your hands cutting apricots at supersonic speed
Hands picking golden prickly pear from crowd of cactus
Soft hands applying egg-white to rusty nailed knees
Quick hands turning tortillas and papas
over in one sweet motion
Hands coming together and praying so deeply,
profoundly and faithfully
that sometimes my soul would believe too
Dear Mother, Even as I struggle
to move past the cough, the Jersey blizzard
past the cough that will not leave,
I think of your struggle in the Valley of Hearts delight,
land east of Salsipuedes
Your strong arms and warm gaze raising ten children
in the ceaseless battle for dignity
and the tremendous sacrifice of your own desires
Dear Mother, the only thing I can do then in response
is pick up a pound of clay
And speckled paintbrush and go to war for your giving heart
Your giving heart that sings De Colores
Your giving heart that makes me split the clay
into dozens of precious sculptures,
your hardscrabble tears that make me wash
from the landscape a  hundred watercolors
Dear Mother, Sweet Madre, the spring is coming to Jersey
Like a sheepish, shy lover
and California with its cool Eucalyptus,
exploding roses and baby’s breath blossoms
seems only a block away
I swear next door I smell the aroma of tamales,
the scent of menudo,  the tang of oregano
and right here in my studio,
you are standing next to me, guiding, feeding,
imploring, scolding, bribing and most of all
supporting me with all your
singular motherly brilliance

Categories: Uncategorized


1 reply

  1. You’re poem humbles me. I read it with such joy and tears, both together to form a portrait of a mother’s love gone right.


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