Marisol Baca


Lorem Ipsum

Dolor Pulnivar

Estern Velces

Orevem Lorces


2 Poems


Marisol Teresa Baca graduated from Fresno State University with a BA in English, where she received the Andres Montoya Poetry Award. Marisol received her Master of Fine Arts at Cornell University in Ithaca New York, where she was the recipient of the Robert Chasen Poetry Award, and was an editor at the award winning EPOCH journal out of Cornell University. She lives in Fresno, CA with her little dog, Sopapilla, teaches English and continues to write poetry. She has just recently finished writing a book of poems titled, Revelato.

Sarcophagi in Glass Houses

[after an installation at The Storm King Art Center, and the death of my Great Aunt]


Manuelita sent Mom and Auntie Patsy

into the podding room

Piles of chile

skins like dried meat

Mom and Auntie Patsy hitching

the meat out

pulling the seeds and membrane

from the inner lining

little fingers tugging at the green tongues

speechless in their hands

packing them into glass jars

The day of death was passing by

the coffin on the coffee table

the old sitting together

the men’s heads

white and scattered

like seeds

Manuelita passing out crocheted



and stained

Uncle Benito had to hold on

his wife

looked up from the coffee table

she looked up, but was already dead

Auntie Patsy was tired

of the piles that smelled burnt

the piles my mom kept jumping in

the look of the chilies




the candles were lit

in the little earthen room

rain began to fall with tin sounds on the roof

and the dead woman smiled from the trees

they had welts on their hands

the chili had been too hot to eat


They arrive in pods

The pods are much too tight

They break the sides open


Manuelita constructed her home

with an horno in the kitchen

she only burned cedar wood

she had burn marks along her arms

kept feeding the horno

glass shards

cedar wood

But we sold that house

we sold the great cottonwoods

outside that house

and the red chile ristras

those she plumed

and fed to us


It was in New York,

much later

I walked in the hills

and stayed close to the water

away from the groves

I found these constructed graves

these insect wrappings

these mummies

and all I could do

was talk to her

I think she hoped

I’d come along

take hold of her

move her story

across the weatherworn panes

tell her New York is the secret

passage to Corrales, N.M.

near the horses

near the great white sand dunes

near the adobe house

built around her imprint

And Hatch Chile in August

rain, acidity,

the roasters large as entry rooms, foyers

churning pods by the hundreds

the burn in our lungs

the burn in our eyes

the whole town crying

and the women by the stove

Glass houses make for good mirrors.


Great Gods of the mountainside

please spare us the duty of eating

please spare us the acid tongue

the skins and their veins burst

and smell of her

the casings by the molcajete

like translucent tombs

waiting to lend themselves to stone

waiting to affect on the mouth

the acerbic bite and the swelling

waiting, waiting for the opiates

of the body to pump and roll


Houses the dead

houses the lines

and the lines

between us

houses the slow

shag in our dark past

past the houses on the right

the houses on fire

houses the houses on fire

the houses that house

how houses have past

lined by lines

lines of grass

lined pictures fading on walls

lined windows,

shingles, and rats

and the houses house us,

the dead and us

Apple Orchard

Corrales, New Mexico, summer 1982


We drove past the river and into Bernalillo.

There were crosses in my aunt’s eyes.

The mountains call you back, she said.

The Sandias rose before us.

Clean pink peaks and the crags below—dark and greenish.

We drove into the dim patches,

Beyond the old house was the apple orchard.

San Juans and Roman Beauties were close to dropping.

We would be picking soon—culling and shining.

Wild asparagus grew in patches among the trees.


She watched her mother being lowered into the ground.

A childhood wrapped in an old black dress.

She went crazy—all fury and open-mouthed

over her coffin.

My aunt held her back.

She made sounds like horses running.

My aunt’s arms stretched out, gripping the coffin

She struggled to climb on top.

I was too young, I sat in my mother’s lap.

everyone watching everyone crying

and uncle Benny falling to the floor.

mama, mama.


Beyond the orchard, a ditch,

attractive with slender saltgrass and buffalo grass,

infested with piquant creosote

and in the bed, a roily nest of water.

Beyond that ditch, the earth stopped.

The edge of the world stayed back, beyond the ridge, waiting.

My uncle said there were alfalfa fields that went on and on

until they hit the mountains.

But I knew what was really there.

I knew the smell of green apples the same way.

The familiar dreams of falling over that edge,

sun in my eyes, the taste of dirt,

the itchy tall grass and weeds, giving way.

I could smell the horses far off in the neighbor’s field.

I could feel the void beneath my leather sandals.


My grandmother lost her face in the mountains.

She watched them the year she broke.

watched them turn gray, to pink, to red.

She saw things in them.

Once an Indian’s face,

another time, her own

looking back.