mother moves her body to feed the world

happy mother’s day, one and all madres-mamas

hands fold masa harina
dried husks, softened in pots
of water, sweat-love, pull-push
ancient cereal, stone over
stone, mother plants tomato
holds chili pods into sun
like Nudibranchia, colors of land
mountain jungle plain
mother holds caloric history
secretive recipes, honey
dabbed on tongue of child
eyes open as mother
mashes herbs, chocolaty foam

water-air-bowl-seed-bread-tamale
like birthing, she holds a child
nine months, inside, flowing
energy, womb and home
but children flail
gravity cleaves them
to earth, floor, ground
mother holds child up
until culture, patriarchy,
decides futures, have’s
and have’s not, child
taken like calf, lamb
husbandry for humanity

she questions why
how lifting heart
and fever of labor
turn into shadows
over and over
mother is there forever
not perfection, not
a Virgin Mary but
she’s embodied with wit, song
warmth, strong hands, holds
child, gives up
child, to broken world

a tear for daughter
chili del arbol
trees filled with
avocado, banana-large
blood red skins
seeds like volcanoes
mother soaks, pulls
heat away from pulp
chili fills, bright
orange-earth-wet clay
color of love
for family
ajo and onion
tamales steaming
children waiting
dogs and cats
leaping into air
mother holds food
and child, hums
words mother never learned
until she carried baby

Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.