The Anatomy of El Mercado

by Nohemi Chavez


You’ll be greeted by the smells of rice, fish, caldos, and platillos being served. The sound of a megaphone, held a little too closely to the lips of the panadero as he makes his way through the pueblo. The canastas of beans, corn, and nopales decorating each wall chipping with paint, the same way the papel picado hangs from each ceiling. Las voces del mercado that overlap one another like the interwoven leather straps of huaraches. The rainbows of fruits and vegetables waiting to be chosen and the melting ice that sinks to the bottom of the aguas frescas. The uneven paved sidewalk where everyone leaves their imprint, trying to push through to get to their mandado. The sizzling oil that jumps and burns the taquero with just a single touch, and the butcher’s knife that slams through and rips apart the newly arrived flesh. El cafecito is served at the nearest stand, next to the buckets of fresh cut roses being sold for way too cheap. Everywhere you turn you see santos and images of angels that look nothing like the man selling them. There’s no escaping, because what are the Mexican people without their white gods? You’ll find a hand searching for help and a face that turns away. Small children selling gum for five pesos next to the refurbished shops, overly saturated with American movies depicting American wealth, American food, and American faces. For a second you forget where you are, until you snap out of the matrix called the American Dream and find yourself aquí, en el mercado.


About the Author:

Nohemi Chavez is a junior at Mount Mary University. She is majoring in Fashion Design and minoring in English–Writing for New Media. She was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin but is from Guanajuato, Mexico. She hopes to own her own business one day and publish a book of poems.

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