Feeding You

by: Carmen Tafolla
Posted: April 22, 2021

I have slipped chile under your skin 

Secretly wrapped in each enchilada 

hot and soothing, 

carefully cut into bitefuls for you as a toddler 

increasing in power and intensity as you grew 

until it could burn 


silently spiced into the rice 

soaked into the bean caldo 

smoothed into the avocado 

          I have slipped chile under your skin 

drop by fiery drop 

until it ignited 

the sunaltar fire 

in your blood 

I have squeezed cilantro into the breast milk 

made sure you were nurtured with the taste 

of green life and corn stalks 

with the wildness of thick leaves 

of untamed monte 

of unscheduled growth 

I have ground the earth of these Américas in my molcajete 

until it became a fine and piquant spice 

sprinkled it surely into each spoonful of food 

that would have to expand to fit your soul 

Dear Son 

Dear Corn Chile Cilantro Son 


is your herencia 


is what is yours 


is what your mother fed you 

to keep you 


The author of more than 30 books, her work appears internationally in high school and university textbooks, newspapers, journals and magazines, and elementary school readers. Named State Poet Laureate of Texas in 2015, she is currently the President of the Texas Institute of Letters. Tafolla had also served from 2012-2014 as the first City Poet Laureate of San Antonio and presented at more than 300 schools, universities, professional conferences, and community arts centers in her two-year tenure.
The current President of the Texas Institute of Letters, Tafolla is at work on the biography of noted 1930s civil rights organizer Emma Tenayuca.

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