Mexican Bags (Bolsas del Mercado) by Elizabeth Perdomo


 “Las fronteras con un puente pero dos caminos muy distintos!” – Local Frontera “Diche” 


Mexican bags,
mesh bolsas del mercado,
bright dye colors woven in plaids,
stripes, solids, poly-mesh
strong, flexible handles,
as liquid borders
which flow beneath their feet,
travel both ways,
convey dark haired
Tias, hermanas,
grey-haired abuelitas,
large bags,
an entire life
could fit inside.
Bolsas carted on buses,
lugged across long bridges
border paths moving both ways,
long roads convey human cargo,
carry strong blood longings,
cross Rio Grande shores,
Frontera del Norte, with
famila on both sides,
family long ago
stuffed bolsas
hold special sweets,
dulces para los niños,
rancho grown
chiles seco, raised
in el jardín del rancho,
handmade tamales, still warm,
wrapped with love, held
safe within hand-
& visa terms
bring each face back
to old roads, the hard life
choices, return to border bridges,
return beloved dark-eyed
Abuelas, hermanas,
Padres, Tias,
who cross back into
ancient homelands,
travel towards
warmer Spanish tongues,
español, & familiar
rancho soil which
still runs deep as hand-
dug wells,
deep as river blood.
Boundaries flow; changeable,
alter with claims, time,
flow free as agua
& tears.
Hearts will
always weep caliente when
they leave la familia preciosa,
across El Rio Bravo,
Sur del Frontera,
with bright plaid bags
clutched as tight abrazos,
embraced on buses,
la lineas panamericas,
lug bold stripped bolsas
across long, hot bridges,
puentes y caminos,
colorful bags,
each loaded heavy
with hard goodbyes,
liquid borders running
just beneath their


Background:  Mexican Bags – Bolsas del Mercado – was inspired by waiting for my husband’s return from Mexico at the international bus station in McAllen.  While awaiting his arrival, I had the opportunity to watch people both come – and go – on the local and Mexican bus lines.


Elizabeth Perdomo, born in Emporia, Kansas, raised in Winfield, has written poetry since a teen. One Turn of Seasons includes her poetry and another’s photography. Recently, her poems appeared in Kansas Time + Place, Interstice and The Chachalaca Review. Perdomo now lives in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is from Wichita, Kansas. He was President of the Kansas Authors Club 2016-2017. His latest book of poetry, Stage Whispers (Meadowlark-Books, 2019), contains “…handsomely crafted poems…Dense with images, intimate and honest…” (Kathryn Kysar). His chapbook, Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) comprises ekphrastic poems inspired by a variety of artists’ depictions of angels. His first poetry collection, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014), was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He recently co-edited Kansas Time+Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Press, 2017) with Caryn Mirriam Goldberg. That anthology collected poems that appeared on this website from 2014-2016.




3 thoughts on “Mexican Bags (Bolsas del Mercado) by Elizabeth Perdomo

  1. Having known Elizabeth since childhood, I can tell you that this is not a talent she matured into—-she’s had it all along—-so happy that your group makes it easier for her to share it with the rest of us!

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