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  Angie Vasquez
Angie Trudell Vasquez is a third generation Mexican-American from Iowa. She spent the last eight years in Seattle and now lives in Milwaukee
Angie Vasquez
with her husband. As a member of Los Norteños in the Pacific Northwest, she produced several literary art shows for Dia de Los Muertos and Cinco de Mayo. She recently performed in conjunction with the ACLU of Wisconsin's the Other America Tour. Her work had appeared on stage and in print in The Raven Chronicles, Real Change, Stand Alone and Purgatorius.org. The Force Your Face Carries, a self published chapbook, is available at Woodland Pattern Book Center, Open Books in Seattle, and online The Elliott Bay Book Company.

from Heredity

Angie Vasquez
In a dream my Mother tells me,
"They don't live with death everyday like we do."

Juana Tovar Vasquez,
bridge to our past,
the first who came
to this country
linking us all
on her funeral day.
To say she was small
would not describe her
thick tortilla hands,
strong from rolling, patting,
forming rounds circles of heaven
with some white flour,
rain water and bacon fat.

It would not describe how her legs
walked "uptown" and back
wire basket on wheels
pulling goods home to her family
picking from corporate owned
fruit trees along the way
grandchildren in tow.

She told my dad he was the head
of the family at age four
when her second husband,
Don Feliciano died,
someone most of us
can not remember,
the man she moved
countries for,
another ancestor
who came to this country
made it possible for us.

we came from
Mexican immigrants
hard working sun colored people
who made cold Newton, Iowa
their home paved the way
for us to live in grace and ease.
Outhouse out back,
waking early stoking the fire
drawing water from the indoor well
she cared for her sons,
washing clothes by hand,
growing her own vegetables,
making beans, enchiladas, stews
with meat, potatoes, onions,
tomatoes, chiles, her own
piccadillo, mole.

This woman started it all,
hardy peasant woman
who loved her sons above all,
tolerated their wives
before she came to love them too,
protecting her young,
looking out for their needs,
this woman makes me proud
to be her descendant, her flesh.
This woman has passed,
her red lipstick gone,
her pretty flowered
house dresses hang empty,
her little flat feet patter no more
across the kitchen floor.
She was an original.
We can only hope
to be as tenacious
as we leave our footprint
on this planet for another,
carry her name, her seed, her DNA.

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