one poem from Jen, another from Dylan

to my grandmothers, who I hope never read this (a sestina variation)
By Jennifer Bortner

whenever I see candles, I am your little one again
holding hands in a synagogue of blue velvet
I’m wearing red ribbon pigtails and sequins
at the altar, a man cuts golden bread with sharp silver
and raises a rusted glass lined with gibberish
I am not good at being Jewish

on Friday nights, you embrace your Jewish
and don a tight evening dress again
feign listening to monologues of gibberish
while really mulling lazy eyes over blue velvet
but I forgo the sharp silver
and a frat basement watches me in sequins…

oh, I do love sparkly sequins
but miss the matzah ball soup scent of Jewish
and the freshly polished lines of silver
spoons which won’t be used again
this year. I want to hang drapes of blue velvet
the same royal color that echoed gibberish

in my college apartment less velvety more gibberish
put a disco ball on the ceiling made of silver sequins
and try to be good at being Jewish again

my mexican grandmother married a white guy
By Dylan Rossi

put the jalapeños in slowly. you can never
take spice out once it’s been ground
up into raindrop-sized specks and it’s been
blended into your guacamole

but you can always add more, my grandmother
tells me I ought to cook for my mom, I
ought to learn how to make enchiladas
the way she does when we visit her

place in Boston. you can always add
a brand new shopping center with the new
developments rising as if this were an oven.
as if I am cookie dough. my chocolate

chips are dipped in salsa and sour
cream or rice laid bare in tortillas
splayed out begging for my mouth that does not
speak Spanish. Still I misunderstand. How

can I be more than I am? How can the tomato plant
on my grandmother’s balcony ever grow something
other than tomatoes? I suppose I can pick them. Pick
them, dice them, mix them in with jalapeños and try
to remember only what I’ve been fed.