Whenever we grew tired and bored of curb ball,
of encircling the scorpions we found under rocks
by the mother-in-law tongue within a fiery circle
of kerosene and watching as they stung themselves
to death, we ate dirt; soft, grainy, pretend chocolate
dirt, in our fantasies sent to us by distant relatives
in El Norte. Fango. We stood in a circle, wet the dirt
under our bare feet, worked with our fingers to crumble
the clogs with our nails, removed the undesired twigs,
pebbles, and beetles. Dirt—how delicious. How filling.
We ate our share of it back then. Beto, the youngest,
warned us not to eat too much; it could make us sick,
vomit, give us the shits, or even worse, worms.
We laughed. We ridiculed him. We chanted
after him: "¡Lo que no mata, engorda!
¡Lo que no mata, engorda!"
What doesn’t kill you makes you fat, and stronger.