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Cilantro y Café

Out Now
Published by Allbook Books

Cilantro y Café depicts a piece of Marcela's journey as a Colombian-American in her twenties and explores themes of heartbreak, depression, cultural identity, introspection, and social awareness. This debut poetry book documents the beauty and chaos of life by using quirky settings and chilling emotional imagery. 


Copyright © 2021 Marcela Ossa.
Cover Artwork Copyright © 2021 Marcela Ossa.
All rights reserved.


the sunflower fell in love with the sun,
the way the warmth kissed her skin
and made her dance again


The smell of cilantro
reminds me of home
and of the voices
that inspire me

eat cilantro to make you sleepy
and drink coffee to wake you up

a cocktail of aromas and sensations—
c r o s s e d  at lunch
with my abuelo and tía.

Do they cancel each other out,
like the stench of sewer water
and fresh laundry in a busy city
on a summer’s day?

cilantro y café

they bring back
the memory of home

to my lips as they simmer
in unison on my tongue
if I blend them
and form a cohesive paste,

can I come home?



I want to carve my way into the world
like a man could in the 19th century.
They carved like beavers hungry for wood,
like farmers at the start of the agricultural revolution,

hungry for wheat — hungry for power.

But they didn’t know they were creating
whole worlds in their bubbles
while snubbing the rest of the bubble keepers.
The snubbers were hungry for a safe thrill,
like indoor skydiving
(some of the thrill, none of the danger).

Why do we thrill safely
when we know full well

that our black and blue bruises
and our red and pink burns
and our bloody hearts
tell the story of a life well-lived?

Us snubbers of the outside world,
wrinkle in time, bend and break in time,
and yet we continue to indoor skydive,
fearful of an authentic thrill.

Copyright © 2021 Marcela Ossa.
All rights reserved.
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