Stephanie Sauer

Nixtamal Mamá

You chop chiles in pieces, life in knife
strokes turns itself to laughter, lets out grief.
My countertop is made of tile, the scene
of you, illiterate in memories
of singing, mincing. Tonight I think all thoughts
in tablespoon, decoding ancient scripts
of liming, maize and beans. Androgyny
deficiencies replaced with technologies
of patience, blood. Unground beneath hands cupped,
engulfed in loving when I open up
the oven, cover woodland recipes
with coconut and cut the sugar, squeeze
in cardamom, exhaust the herb-lush soil.

Merlot simmers atop taste buds, and oil
outstretches over cast iron to find
that I evolve back, reach into your timeline,
measuring-cupped life. Your body feeds
earthward to center, spices always sealed.

Stephanie Sauer is an interdisciplinary artist and author of The Accidental Archives of the Royal Chicano Air Force (University of Texas Press). Her work has been exhibited at the NYC Center for Book Arts and De Young Museum, and won So To Speak’s Hybrid Book Award. Her writing appears in Drunken Boat, Verse Daily, Asymptote, Alehouse Press, Boom: A Journal of California, Alimentum, and is forthcoming from PRISM International. She is the founding editor of Copilot Press and teaches at the San Francisco Art Institute.