beaded trout

Gracias, Sabás

Gracias, Sabás
Por la tarde vine del jardín

a la cocina a decirle a Sabás que teníía hambre

Mi abue sentada en la mesa grande

desconsando su corazón y practicando su español con

Sabás quien—sin quemar sus puntos dedales—

voltió una tortilla de harina mientras se tosto

y levantando pecas negras de el sarten de hiero.

Yo estudie la tortilla mientras la mantequilla se redetio,

     calmando polvo de harina

y esperando los frijoles o la carne; sin embargo, Sabás me dió

solo este "calientito," para no hechar a pender mi cena.

No me acuerdo mucho de las ensaladas, carne rostisada o las jelatinas;

pero esas tortillas detuvieron mi hambre por la tarde.

Ahora, veo las tortillas de harina como mapas topográficas,

cerros negros y cafés por el desierto blanco,

donde masa harina se levanta dentro las palmas que las hizo.

Yo leo esas mapas redondas mientras las pongo a mis labios,

esperando trazar a la moda a Sabás,

pero la tortilla no más me guía a su orilla,

aunque ambos niños Californios seguirian

este mapa a las mujeres que nos crillaron,

seguirian por mano por boca hasta la memoria.

-----translation-----
Gracias, Sabás

Afternoons, I'd come in from the garden to

the kitchen and tell Sabás I was hungry.

I sat with my Grammy at the long table

where she rested her heart and practiced Spanish with Sabás.

Sabás could turn a flour tortilla in an iron skillet

without burning her fingertips while it

singed brown and picked up black freckles.

As I studied the butter melting over the tortilla's surface,

      Settling the flour's dust

I wished for beans or meat. Sabás gave only this calientito,

nothing more to spoil my dinner. She kept our home.

I don't recall much about the salads, roasts or puddings

only those tortillas that held my afternoon hunger.

Today, I look at flour tortillas as topographical maps,

brown and black hills in the white desert,

where masa harina rose into the palms that made them.

I read tortillas as circular maps that I put to my lips,


hoping to trace the way to Sabás,


but the tortilla only leads the way to its edge,


though many California children would follow


this map to the women who helped raise us,


we follow from hand to mouth to memory.


Translation by Andres Two Hawks Monreal

Poem by Brandon Cesmat

Brandon Cesmat


contents of issue 3

Blessing For the Meal
Indira Allegra

Gracias, Sabás
Brandon Cesmat

Red Door on Mott Street
Stephania JT Russell

Preserves
Howard Miller

windfall
Martin Hinkel

Cooking Stories
Linda Boyden

Table Leavings
Rain Prud'homme_Cranford Gomez

Kabubu Bread
Luke Warm Water

Into The Cauldron of Iron
Lorraine Cathey


Brandon Cesmat Biography

Brandon Cesmat lives in Valley Center, CA near the Rincon and San Pasqual reservations. His books include Light in All Directions, Driven into the Shade and When Pigs Fall in Love. He teaches at CSU San Marcos but looks forward to walking his sons' dogs along Paradise Creek, which feeds into the San Luis Rey River.


Permission to publish poems in this one context was granted by the authors, who unless otherwise specified, hold copyright on these works.