I set the bottle down on the kitchen counter
in an aggravated attempt to swat
                    at the words accumulating in my mind
                    like how the pan with leftover marinara,
                                        from the night before,
                                        begs to be scrubbed
                                        before it adheres itself to the walls
of a supposed nonstick pan—inviting a family of flies
it will take my full, concentrated effort
                                       to scrape it all off, to swat at the nerve,
                                       with my matamoscas in hand, trying to juggle
                                                                           it all,
and I haven’t hit a period in a sentence because I haven’t yet taken
                    a breath from the words swirling and ready to be born
and the baby saying her first words and pronouncing first letters
                    and my teenager texting to me her love language—
                                        mom, spend time with me even if it’s cyber
                    and my tweenager, at visitation, with cosmic questions
                                        what is the inverse square root of…
                    and my husband cooking flautas, aware to leave out
the sour cream because I’m lactose intolerant and aware to leave out
gluten because I’m celiac too and aware to leave out demands
                    because I’m a hypersensitive person too,
                                                                       so when I’m asked,
                                   “How do you juggle it all?”
                                                            I don’t.
By the grace of God, there are flickers of hope in time
                    I know I could not have created without a God who loves
                                                                                                 fiercely and wisely.
By the grace of God, there are branches of faith in time
                   I know I could not have situated without a God who loves
                                                                                                 compassionately and freely.
                                                            Time is perspective.
From the time I sit the bottle down on the kitchen counter
to sitting down with my family and being faithfully present
                    I know I fail a thousand times,
                                     but by the grace of God
                                     but by the grace of God
                             every perfect gift is set apart, I remember
                                                that family is God’s perfect gift
                                                                       where stories, dichos, and cuentos are passed on
                    like passing the rice at the dinner table, but by the grace of God.

Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros
Carolina is a Tejana poet, freelance writer, and speaker. Her work focuses on faith and Latinidad and can be found in On Being, The Acentos Review, SheLoves Magazine, Rock & Sling: a journal of witness, Lookout Magazine, and others. She has work forthcoming in The Rumpus, Latina Outsiders: Remaking Latina Identity, and The Windward Review. Carolina holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @CisnerosCafe.


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  1. This breathless poem is so like life, and your skillful turning of words toward grace has turned my gaze there in thanksgiving for my own family and the balancing act that celebrates how blessed we are.

    1. They call them non-stick but they need a time limit on that non-stick business. For example, they should say it’s only non-stick for the first couple of hours. I’m a mom. Sometimes, I can’t wash dishes until the next day or a few days later. 🙂 LOL. God has been good for a long time. I failed to see it. He is in everything and that’s good news. So glad you stopped by, friend! xx

  2. This is so beautiful Carolina! “Time is perspective” – over and over we look back and see how many things we could never have done without Him. Thanks for conveying that, and much more, so well in this poem.

  3. Carolina, I love how you capture a sense of the intensity of simply moments, ones where we can feel overwhelmed, and breathless at the pace and multitasking and juggling. And how you draw us into God’s grace, which is the only way we can both manage and celebrate all the beauty of simple moments within our families. Thanks for sharing.

  4. You draw me in once again with your word weaving, dear friend. You tell great stories, real and raw, fresh and light. I love you and am so glad to read about your experiences in this way. Keep on, Carolina.

  5. So beautiful Carolina as always. I was breathless reading it, and I understand watching my daughter juggle working and taking care of a 2 year old and 8 month old and my DIL trying to entertain a 4 year old and juggle twin boys eight months old and work from home. The DIL has a lot of guilt, but she does a grand job doing special things with the 4 year old and I fill in too with special days for him at the movie or park.

    Hugs my friend.

  6. Thanks Carolina, I shared this with a friend today who is an educator in the public schools and a writer and a great Mom and a youth leader helping young people follow Jesus. I think you beautifully captured how life is at times. Thank you for giving words to it!

  7. Carolina,
    I have asked myself how you do it so many times, but why, oh why did I think you did it any other way but how any of us do anything. By the grace of God, whether we know it, think it, or would ever admit it or not, it is all by the grace of God! This is such a beautiful poem!

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