portero & a morning en la casa de mi abuelo

by Cynthia Guardado

II. A Morning en la Casa de Mi Abuelo


for my mother

My mother cleans her father’s toilet,

in her hand a stale brush

scrubs the concrete floor

of his wash room. Tomorrow

he’ll tell her she will not inherit

this house or the land around it.

Tomorrow it will be her birthday;

he’ll say he has to think

of his sons before his daughters.

They are an afterthought the same

as his wife who always waited

like Hera, pomegranate in hand.

I. Potrero


for Alejandro Salguero

We scale up the hill through next year’s

milpa and the only things buzzing are

the flies. I imagine the sharp sound

of machinery, hear the squeal of a lever

echo, from the fumigation tank my cousin

carries on his back. I am a tourist here;


I trail his soft footprints, mimic where

his steps fall, want to know how I

should tread. He disinfects the harvest

and asks if I know who Karl Marx is.

The sweat on our backs is still like the stream

in the creek below, a path drawn through


the earth. He hauls water on his shoulder

in a cantaro. Its round belly pushing into

the base of his neck. We talk about imperialism.

He tells me his dreams: papaya fields and pinos

in rows on the curve of this loma.

I tell him at the root of everything is


colonialism. And he says, if I had choice,

Estados Unidos o El Salvador, I’d pick this life

again. How did we get to the top so fast?

A land mass floats in the sky and I ask

what it is. He laughs in Spanish and tells me

it’s a mountain peaking through the clouds.


Cynthia Guardado


                                                        contributor 2014 first edition


Cynthia Guardado is a Salvadorian-American poet. Her poetry has been published in The Acentos Review, The Packinghouse Review, PALABRA: A Magazine of Chicano and Literary Art, Crate Literary Magazine, and The Normal School. She was the winner of the Andres Montoya Memorial Scholarship in 2010 and 2011, and was selected as the CSU Fresno English Department’s 2012 Outstanding Thesis. She also translated and transcribed The Madrid Conversations, which was published my New Orleans Press in 2013.