Tamales

by Bailey Cohen

ma got them especifically, she said, about the
hojas para tamales, except your Spanish wasn’t
very good so you heard ojos & were terrified,
nightmared eyes peering through small tears
in a pale yellow but nonetheless ate them
like you might two very pretty grapes

they filled you

with an immense sadness, but you knew the worst thing you could do
was act as if none of this had happened at all, as if the eyes
hadn’t tumbled down your throat like beans in a rain stick, as if they
hadn’t spluttered in the puddle of your gut, as if you hadn’t wondered
about an enfolding & unfolding of your inside-outs,
as if there was a mother whose giving you were unbeholden to.

Bailey Cohen is a queer Ecuadorian-American poet studying at NYU. The founder of Alegrarse, the Associate Editor for Frontier Poetry, and a Best of the Net nominee, Bailey is the author of the forthcoming poetry chapbook Self-Portraits as Yurico (Glass Poetry Press) and his work appears in or is forthcoming from Boulevard, Raleigh Review, [PANK], Boiler Journal, Cotton Xenomorph, and more. He can be found across most social media platforms @BaileyC213.