Ancestors Stir the Pot, a poem

The search for roots and acceptance of death

Ancestors Stir the Pot by Nina Serrano The ancestors like the kitchen They are called by the sound of chopping

1943, New York City L-R Mother, Ida Serrano, Father Joe Serrano, Uncle Paul (Augustine Polo), Nina: Serrano

Fortunately, I had a chance to share this poem, Ancestors Stir the Pot, with my beloved brother, Philip Serrano, just before he died suddenly. I am left with the acceptance of death. I mean; I  accept that it happens and even more frequently in my old age. It leaves me bereft until I can make it through the days without tears. This foto above was taken a few years before Philip’s birth.

Ancestors Stir the Pot

by Nina Serrano

The ancestors like the kitchen
They are called by the sound of chopping
the clatter of pots and pans and the promise of slow cooking
Polo prompts
“Aren’t you going to throw in a bay leaf?”
Joe quips “I don’t like how it smells up the house
But if more people might come toss in potatoes”
Anna quietly suggests “Float a sprig of dill on top”
Silent Rosa hints to add cumin
though when she was alive
she didn’t speak English
Her daughter Rosita agrees
admitting that she hated to cook
Ida says encouragingly
“A little more garlic makes it better”
Before I pop the lid on
to let it simmer
they all laugh to remember
that cut raw onions
made them cry.

©2016 Nina Serrano

You are all happily invited to the gala release party for my novel, NICARAGUA WAY on Saturday, April  8, 2017, at 4 pm. The celebratory event will be at Book Passages Bookstore in their new Sausalito shop- right by the ferry. Enjoy refreshments, a book reading, book signing, and a friendly Nicaraguan fiesta ambiance, I’d love to greet you there!

Check out my short video “Sandinista Memories” for more on my own ancestors and their role in my novel, NICARAGUA WAY.

About Nina Serrano: Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 82 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to or contact her publisher at For more detailed information about Nina see About Nina on her website.

About Estuary Press: Estuary Press is the publisher of Nicaragua Way. It is also the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive, a repository of photography and video documentaries of various social change and political movements during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact Paul Richards (510) 967 5577, or visit for more details.

MEDIA – For photos & interviews: Paul Richards (510) 967 5577;


Ancestors Stir the Pot, a poem — 1 Comment

  1. Congratulations! Wish i could come but I broke my femur and am on the bum.

    Love, Florence

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