CurvaThe Santa Ana Literary Association included this poem in their “Year In Poetry” project for poets and poetry about Santa Ana. My husband and I met while working at the Santa Ana Post office. His family has lived in Santa Ana for over one hundred years. This poem was inspired by a 1947 photo of my mother-in-law, Mary Cruz Camarillo, on a road in Baja California. The photo was published in ???????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????? in the issue noted in the title.


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cross the border at Nogales
heading north from Michoacán
to a farm in Palos Verdes
Mama cooks what Dad brings home
and then Pearl Harbor, no more school,
she and Mama, canning tuna

on the wharf in San Pedro
she meets Sam from Santa Ana
poses on a Baja road
her eyes smile straight at the camera
in black and white her lips are red
and then the babies–one, two, three

she loves chisme and casinos
yelling at those stupid Dodgers
three more babies, four, five, six
pork tamales every Christmas
like her Mama used to make
daughters’ fingers ringed with olives

she makes beans for Super Bowl
now her children taste their cooking
wish that they had asked more questions
too much salt, there’s something missing
one, two, three, four, five, and six
Her eyes shine through each of them.


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