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[Image of Little Miss Naughty] Tortillas
by Mija

You can make hot fresh tortillas easily if you have
the skill

You can't learn as an adult
you've got to learn in childhood or not at all

You're almost born knowing

Early on you learn that the best masa is soft
and warm to the touch

Good masa smells of sweet fresh corn
Beautiful, clean, not-quite white

Damp without being wet

In your hands it smooths,
never flat or angular, always round

You stoke the fires hot to start

And then ready the tortilla for the heat

you've got to pat pat pat
with firm, expert hands

Tortillas made with love get it from the patting

I can't tell you how many pats
you've got to just feel when it's time

Time for the fire

Your grill applies heat in hard, hot lines
that mark your tortilla and toughen it

Darken its skin and make the moisture steam

Until it's so hot your hand can hardly bear to
touch it

Turn it over
And split it open.

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This is my first poem. I've never written one before - I'm not that sort of Chicana critic. Is it good? Don't know. It pleases me, is what I wanted it to say, to be. But reading it over it seems naive - something written by an overly-romantic undergraduate.

From where it came I've no idea. I can't make tortillas, have never even tried. En mi familia that knowledge is lost with the women of my abuelita's generation. We use tortillarias, don't even make our own masa. My acquaintance with masa comes from my experiences with tamales. And even those I'm lame at making.

Is the right masa for tortillas or tamales damp without being wet? I've no idea.

The poem expresses something important: the F/F side of my sexuality, and has BDSM - even more specifically spanking - overtones. It was inspired, if inspired is even the right word, by Sandra Cisneros's "My Friend Lucy Who Smells Like Corn."

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