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Castro Luna Ryan Polich

Illustration by Ryan Polich

Trace and Anchor

This is to tell you about the city that inhabits me
and that I inhabit. I long to tell you about the beauty
and generosity of its people, tell you how I came to call it
home. Instead my hand traces elsewhere. The city is all
of it, particular and general at once. Capture one detail,
leave a thousand out: mountain and grain, trash and lush.
Geography is to gut as desire to heart. There are sisters
here carving their names from sullen rock and children
whose backs grow wings that never lift. Beyond the arc
of my hand mapping ink on this paper, hunger and thirst
anchoring all.

Farmers Market

I go early to hear the citrus tales of pomelos and satsumas in
January, discuss the snap with favas in May, have a word with
a merchant without saying anything, hold a coin bag in one hand
and with the other chat with an unsuspecting tomato. Market
speak is the language of being a girl walking with my mother
down narrow lanes in the mercado, sweat streaming brow, dogs
impatient weaving between legs, stealthy robbers articulating
sneak, sellers shouting incantations to buy this cure-all remedy
and for a bargain, una mano, all the fruit that can fit in the palm
of your hand. At every turn my local farmers market betrays
the one I long for. The mercado I search lays dormant rhyming
festive and mom inside my heart.