Issue > Poetry
Alan Chazaro

Alan Chazaro

Alan Chazaro is a public high school teacher pursuing his MFA in Writing at the University of San Francisco. He is the current Lawrence Ferlinghetti Fellow and a graduate of June Jordan's Poetry for the People program. As a first-generation Chicano, his work often examines the social and cultural complexities of being American. His poetry is forthcoming in Iron Horse Review, Huizache, BorderSenses and Bateau Press, among others.


Stuffed like luggage in Abuelo's old Ford, we clunk
over unpaved roads     
toward a casita made of hay and centuries-old earth

where gardens ripen and brown cows graze
on fenceless pastures.
On the knuckle of mountains, we pull up
next to a house under construction, kicking up dust
and the hot smell of dung.

A crowd of chickens disperse
as Abuelo steps into the merciless heat
          armed only with a faded cap from his military days.
My family follows, our California skin no match
for the Naolinco sun.

Sasha smiles, asks Mama who the casa belongs to.
Aldo declares himself future owner while
puffing on a cigar and pretending to be like Abuelo,
un chingon.               

Mama dispels his dreams:
Es para tu Tia, el de nosotros esta en Oaxaca.     

I wander off to where a rusted wheelbarrow rests
in shade beside well-tended nopales and tools
with worn wooden handles covered in mud.

Abuelo follows and lassos me to his side with one strong move:
Te gusta mijo?
For the first time I embrace him, a man
I hardly know, softer
than the stories
I've been told, whose corazón

is now the 98-degree summer day.

Si, Abuelo, me encanta.


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