MANUAL LABORS

 

 

Maria Melendez

Praise to the motorized mill!

Technology's taken

this stone from my hands,

replaced it with a round stic.

________________

     deep in medial sediment, this           grinding-  then hearth-  then touch-   stone
                                                 preserves the heat of her palms,
             the warmth of her work making
                                                                            flesh
from corn grains, masa means
                                                                                          me
(this poem is corn thinking
                                                            corn) and sand grains pasted together
by eons of pressure—then grated, flake by flake, into our meal,

                                      by this girl, singing or bitter, crushed
                                                  or sparkling, stone-
                          pushing girl with delts of one who builds
                                                                                     bodies, knees of a monk—

                                      sandstone manos retire, sometimes, to hearth work,
                                 and girls' hands move, through generations
                                                                 to new labors, but the working rock
                         radiates into the heart of this page, the hearth of my breath

                                      moving off like a ghost from a frame, your breath

                                                                         moving into it.