To the Discarded Corn Husks Lying on the Kitchen Table After Christmas Dinner

October 6, 2018

 "Fallen Petals" by Stephen Briseño



To the Discarded Corn Husks Lying on the Kitchen Table After Christmas Dinner

by Stephen Briseño



You are el jefe

of items important


yet overlooked:

the snapped bones


of chopsticks left

in the phở bowl,


the butcher paper,

muted blood red,


soaking up the grease

a fatty brisket gives,


the bright cap

of a Topo Chico.


Then there’s you.


You are tamale’s girdle,

cinching just tight enough,



“Hold in there--


the steam es solo un momento;

y’all will be glorious once we’re done!”


In time before,

you were womb


to the ear

which, after drying,


soaking, then grinding

is now reborn within your veil.


Tonight, you are Christmas wrapping,

hiding gifts we’ve already peeked at


but relish shucking

open nonetheless.


Just how the living room,
confettied with shards of paper

and love, is a sign of the season,
so are you,

your scattered remains
of tradition on the table,

marinated in generations
of guelitas and tías with knobby

hands mixing masa, cinching
nuestra familia together

in the ferocious
steam of another year,

promising: “Hold in there--
y’all will be glorious once we’re done!”






Stephen Briseño is a poet and middle school English teacher. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Mentor Mixtapes, 8Poems, formercactus, Riddled with Arrows, and Right Hand Pointing. He lives in San Antonio, TX with his wife and daughter, where you can usually find them lounging at a coffee shop. Follow him on Twitter: @stephen_briseno








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