Daiana Rodriguez


Se fueron las aguas
cuando quitaron la tierra
so great grandma danced to the drums
of the bisabuelos
de mis bisabuelos
de mis bisabuelos to ask
a retired god for the butterfly
of fruit trees to return

but the only ones listening were white
that forked rooted veins
out of dry dirt
and used geometry to scar
earth with waterlines. Growth
became the labor

of the new cut ground and soil
bled nutrients without rest
for water drowning
out of los canales
where water snakes make
their home. Los bisabuelos

de mis bisabuelos
   de mis bisabuelos cortaron
la tierra con machina fiel
y las manos de mis
y tias
y primos hermanos
se agacharon a piscar
del Rio de Nueces asta El

Rio Grande, lands
that once held all their
horses and ancestral
bones. With leaking hearts
and pulsing eyes the people
dance after my great-abuela
shouting louder for a god that can’t afford
a hearing aid.         I listen

to both sides of the battlesong
drums with hands
and sticks. I throw
rocks across a river, hoping
enough of them will
one day build a bridge.


“I’ve seen his bent shoulders,
him eating beneath a tree     
with a hunger that is not       
from here.”                                

~Marisella Vega, “A New Refugee”


inside the refrigerator Tía Asuncion
keeps 20-year-old alfahor
her late mother gave her so
that when she misses the cold
steps in Zacatecas that looked out
to the tiangis every Saturday morning
she has something to eat
that will fill her longing
with home

by the sugar bowl he uses every morning
to sweeten coffee before work, cousin Amaro
keeps 50 pesos his father gave him
the last time he crossed the border
so that he remembers to give
his son as much love as he lost
that year outside Sinaloa
when he was only twelve

Abuela Dolores keeps her wedding
ring by the pan dulce tray                    
so that Abuelo Agusto canput it back
on her hand every morning
when he fills the plate with fresh bread.
she likes to remember his smile
as he swept the sidewalk outside
the only panaderia  in their pueblo
she followed it every Friday when she helped
her mother buy food for the house

in the pantry above the sink Tio Emilio
keeps a photo of his wife
so that he can  look at her when he
washes dishes             and calls home
to tell her about the mozaic he laid
at a house he wishes he could give her.
she tells him about their kids
the new stick figure on the fridge
where his hand finally has four fingers
he can’t wait to cross them to him
and show the tiny hands how to count
everything five fingers can make out of clay


Daiana Rodriguez is a senior at CSUSB pursuing a degree of English under the creative writing track. She hopes to better understand others, herself, and the imaginary people she writes about by simultaneously pursuing a bachelors in Psychology. She has been published previously by The Pacific Review and is forthcoming in Badlands.