a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
I imagine a home land where
Nopales hang out window sills
and dogs beg for flesh–
yet we receive only bones.
The family name is cemented
between clay houses and cemetery.
Our only offering condensed to a kernel
and only then do the familiar ghosts inhabit
this kitchen, now, my own
held in ancient hands as I turn
over the coal and straw– the passing on
of heated tortillas on the stove.
My abuela smiles a flint corn smile.
The house looks over the mountains,
of entire lime fields and livestock.
If I look back far enough,
I can still see my father, a dark spot
and his desire to run over the hillside, to follow behind
the footprints of wild horses.
It doesn’t matter where he gallops, he’s told
when all he’s ever known is the earth he holds,
and the feel of resistance
when pulling on roots.
I know because I feel that too.
Out there in the field, a roaming stallion
falls and becomes a carcass. There’s a little boy inside,
whose hands hide behind a ribcage,
and now he’s a wishbone and a set of wings away
from the future that awaits him in the distance.
There is a difficulty in identifying
exactly which species of fruit
are called lime.
A puzzle piece, a missing slice
is the fruit too acidic to most tongues but,
it’s a subtle language.
Though my genes may be lost in translation,
the answer lies here.
In this botanical complexity
I trace my phylogeny back through a citrus tree
and find myself at the foothills looking up
where the seed of resistance from the first pip sprouted
in the early Neogene epoch in Asia. We are the megaannum
of genetic divergence, an emergence. Still
all immigrants have a shared history.
We all come from that same seed. Now
witness yet another form of hybridizing. These genes
provide only certain insights on this taxonomy, on what ranks
above species and below family. Of what it means
to be latino. The majority cultivated
oranges, grapefruit, pomelos, lemons and limes.
Can you taste the difference?
Our citrus is from monsoon-grown roots, no trouble sprouting
from the bottom of the barrel, much like my family grew
from the limited light in wooden narrows.
The past to us has been uprooted. Dispersal
is the letting go, a diaspore
from the parent plant. So we’ve placed migration
at the forefront. I come from the fates of smugglers.
My family aflock.
so red and ready
to stain, to slay and a disdain
for the unjust, just
beginning to crave
I pity the presidents and kings
who never dreamed, who never stopped to think
of the wild gorge grown before them.
I am a particular variety of lime,
I demand the truth.
Jonathan Amezquita graduated from Macalester College in 2018 (Biology Major/English Minor). He then enrolled in a post-baccalaureate research program at the University of California, Davis. He has since joined the graduate research program at Scripps Research Institute in Florida where he is working towards a PhD in Neuroscience.