← Issue 10


by Alberto Saldaña Uribe

there’s no rearrangement
i’ve worked out the possibilities. 

where i don’t put a burden on my parents
and take from my siblings.

they’re still wearing the shirts i grew up in
with patches, a quick fix, like a random parche
can hide ribs testing tensility of skin, grumbling
stomachs, begging for a meal that never comes.

mom infuses worry, through each bead of a prayer
when she sees me pack a bag with the only shirts that still fit.

across a border that feels galaxies wide,
i’ll work a couple months,
come home with enough to feed
the kids like they deserve, and if i can
i’ll skim a couple dollars, for my own
selfish needs, maybe pick up a Norte
ring for a girl i hardly deserve.

it kills me, each thundering drop from mom’s face, crashing
with her fears into the soil, final home for the children she never got to miss.

acidic goodbye, no mother deserves to bury her babies.

sorbic embraces, each petition to stay
reminds me why i need to leave
each crying face is a light
i can’t imagine dim.

just a couple months, sealed
with promises of new shirts,
a larger portion size, maybe
for once when mom says she
already ate, it’ll finally be true.

i’ve been a child too long, this is my chance to grow into a man.

stare into the avoidant eyes of my father, his voice trembling,
waltzing with my own, when i say goodbye, he whispers a blessing

and dissolves the cartilage in my knees, my resolve buckles, voice falters
elevated pH, my throat tries to close over blistering words, flooding thoughts with buffers

but acerbic love refuses to neutralize.


Alberto Saldaña Uribe is a high school dropout, a college graduate, and is currently studying in the MFA program at Fresno State. Raised in a carniceria, he learned his cuts of meat alongside his ABCs, fluctuating prices alongside his 123s, and family stories alongside every rosary. Decent at some things, terrible at almost everything else, he makes a mean cocktail of maiz memories muddled in tequila and tears, with two shots of sleep deprivation, a half shot of stress, a dash of mourning, and kissed with salt, chile, and heartbreak on the rim; his liver is not a fan.