Poem of the Week | November 01, 2021

This week’s Poem of the Week is “Feeding Rituals” by Monica Rico!

Monica Rico is a Mexican American CantoMundo Fellow, Macondista, and Hopwood Graduate Poetry Award winner who grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan’s HZWP and works for the Bear River Writers’ Conference. Her manuscript PINION is the winner of the 2021 Four Way Books Levis Prize in Poetry selected by Kaveh Akbar.


Feeding Rituals

Robins, unlike my grandmother
return to México.
Instead, she divides

flour, egg wash,
and cornmeal into bowls.

Lemon cut
and Bless us

O Lord and these Thy gifts.
There is no way I will
pray to a man

or let him eat first.
A catfish can live

outside of water for hours.
She tugs the flesh free
and feasts completely
by herself; its body
a twitch of nerves.
is a flash

underneath the black
of her comal.

I won’t dare
open my hand,
another gaping mouth.


Author’s Note

My grandmother was a very complicated and private woman. I was terrified of her. The two things I always wanted from her was to be fed and for her to tell me what it was like growing up in México. Neither of these things happened. I didn’t realize then that this was a selfish demand of me, to a woman who probably never got to enjoy of meal of her choosing completely by herself. If anyone bothered my grandmother too much, she’d throw them out of her house.