May 19

There are Tamales Here

(after Jamaal May)

by sara borjas

There are tamales here
so many tamales here
is what I am trying to say
when they say those tamales are obligatory
and sentimentalize old ways of being
but its 2015 and there are tamales in my freezer
from last Christmas and in the morning
other tamales will be sold across the street
from Franklin High by a woman (who puts too much masa
and not enough sauce) & wears a white hat
that says I Bought California
& her breath & mine scramble into this
morning air like gossip. Yes.
There are tamales here to fight your sisters
over & gift to your rich white friends from high school.
Their hands lift the husk like a package
from Amazon left on the doorstep
or a boyfriend’s condom after sex
or a Wii controller at the bar that has
that cool teak deck in the back
& sells fancy ass hot dogs. No, I don’t mean
the tamale is unwrapped like understanding
for old or present ways, I said lift,
I said tomorrow, not unbury,
not please. I am trying to say
the tamale is good and alive, that it
should not be left out of this narrative
or replaced with the shadow of a tamale
or the sound a tamale makes or the sound
a mind makes when trying to forget a tamale
or anything else because there are tamales
in the freezer full of beans and cheese and
chicharrones and chilies and no
there is no performance or language in my body
that did not come from them
& they won’t stop being delicious they won’t stop
being made and yes, I spread the masa
and roll the pork in and pretend to smoke it like a joint
and my grandma says I need to share because
it’s legal now and we are in California
and after I’ll play fantasy football and read
all the racist news and we’ll talk shit on Trump
and I’ll tell her how online dating sucks and tonight,
when we are done, I’ll put the tamales in the freezer
& save them in there and maybe on Tuesday
I’ll pull them out and eat them with scrambled eggs
or my Jewish boyfriend on my Ikea plates,
lifting the husks off with warm hands
I said tamales
I don’t want to share with anyone I don’t love
and no my heart is not a binary
it belongs to the those I do not explain myself to—
the man who replaced the red zipper
on my boots, the space
late Fall sun shines through,
the energy that decenters





Sara Borjas has published in Luna Luna, The Boiler, The Mcneese Review, Verdad, Yes, Poetry, and Other Poetry, amongst others.

Art: “Open Your Eyes” by featured artist Erika Glass.

Erika Glass is a 21 year old senior at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She will graduate in May with a degree in English and hopes to begin a Master’s of Fine Arts degree in Fall 2016. Erika is a Lancaster native, and typically works with watercolor and pencil in her visual art.