Leah M. Gómez


Leah M. Gómez was born and raised in the thirsty borderland of El Paso, Texas. She received her MFA in Poetry from University of Oregon. Her work appears in BorderSenses Literary Journal and Duende

My mother makes salsa de arbol after she finds out about my father’s infidelity

She glides the knife
over a wet stone, once,
twice, her own pleasure.
She lifts the fresh blade
to a jalapeño’s head,
it’s green body, hot and wilted
after the boil. She slices off
the stem. Her hand steadies
a tomato, I watch as she cuts
the red bulb in half,
juice and seed splatter
all over her white cotton
apron. She takes chile
de arbol and chops
the roasted red tongues
into pieces. Blender’s blades
slay red she has made into pulp.
Silence takes the first taste
of the spicy steam that rises
from the bowl. I turn to her
and ask, “Can you teach me,
mother, how to sharpen
the knives, how to burn
the tongue?”



Of wine and bones 

At our garden’s edge, between dark
wood and tangled grape vines, a widow 

reaches her long black legs across the silken
palm of her web. Each limb knowing the arch 

of its own part weaves together the translucent
veined print of her home. As the sun crosses 

over the firs into trellised light and shadow,
I sit beneath the pergola, wisteria raged and overgrown, 

my distance from the widow kept by fear. I see
the man I love stand between shadow and sunlight, 

Let’s drink to drink and toast to our love,
he says, pours more wine into my glass. 

My mind bitten by the thought of my own
death. Wounded, my mind crawls through 

the woven-work of death’s possibilities:
what would I do to survive? My eyes 

steady and watching him, now, I pour him
another glass, let us drink until our bodies 

are woven together in the light of their own web,
then I eat him, all flesh, down to the bones. 

© The Acentos Review 2018