She lost him before she even knew it. Tía Alicia lost her son, cousin Beto, to the letters carved on his stomach, the size of freeway signs, announcing cities and streets from far away distances. With those drawings under his clothes and skin, he relived the beatings that echoed in his memory, like the lighter burning the melting brown rock on a spoon, easing the pain only he felt. Too much trippin’ locked primo Beto up in the mind, like the hamster that overfeeds itself and doesn’t know how to stop eating—and dies. But primo Beto didn’t die. He’s locked up in the mind and behind bars.
Mother. Poet. Translator. Professor. Sonia Gutiérrez’s work—poetry, fiction, social criticism and photography—has appeared in Lavandería: A Mixed Load of Women, Wash and Word (Winner of the 16th Annual San Diego Book Awards Association for Best Anthology), The San Diego Poetry Annual, La Bloga’s On-Line Floricanto—Poets Responding to SB 1070, La Revista Literaria de El Tecolote “Celebrating Its 40th Anniversary,” Fringe Magazine, Mujeres de Maíz, and forthcoming in Turtle Island to Abya Yala. She teaches English at Palomar College, Mt. San Jacinto College and for Upward Bound. She is also the co-advisor for Encuentros United and the Palomar Poets Club at Palomar College. Sonia is currently editing and submitting her unpublished manuscripts, "Spider Woman/La Mujer Araña," a poetry collection and "Kissing Dreams from a Distance," a novel. Her vignettes, “Locked Up in the Mind,” “El Borracho,” “American Cats Mean More Than a Woman’s Body,” and “The Day Paco Almost Had a Heart Attack,” come from "Kissing Dreams from a Distance." To see more of work, visit her bloguita, "Chicana in the Midst."