I was invited to illustrate three beautiful poems by poet and writer Reyes Ramirez, for the Fall '23 Gravy No. 89 - by Southern Food Alliance and published by Hub City Press.

This is the poem that inspired this illustration. Enjoy!

examine handsome pork & note the vulnerabilities
  the ear’s blush, the feet’s foggy tendons,
  the ruby pierna’s coat of grasa,
  a lightning of white cartilage.
  strip the gummy fat & know
  what must be made bare
place them all in la olla with streaks of coaled tears
  full of agua herviendo.
  what is any sabor but a flesh boiled
    until clouds of loam float
    to the water’s screaming surface
    like souls to rapture?
skim the sputtering espuma. add ajos, onion, salt, bullion,
  whatever may grace throat & stomach
   with wax-thick broth.
  a recipe is a litany
   of what has nourished
   the history of your becoming.
  stir so nothing sinks & sticks
open latas of white hominy, handwash them
   like spilled teeth, like nascent pearls,
   like orbs of wisdom
    from the dead.
  continue boiling. continue waiting. continue living.
  remove what can no longer give: cebolla, garlic, doubt.
   add bay leaf. add oregano. add what cannot be said.
taste this labor. taste what’s been tasted before you,
  what has provided clarity beyond hunger,
  what has been prepared to the singing
   of those who cannot hear your music,
   by those now in unwakeable sleep,
   through your mother’s mother’s hope,
   through the instinct to reach across a time
     & say You are here.
Is it possible to ever be alone?
These are some of the sketches and drawings I explored for this illustration and the process when creating the final composition and color.

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