Complexity is the hidden door in the wall, the blurted confession, the patchwork of irony furring our lives. It is the canned tuna I see piled up in a friend’s kitchen. This particular friend is from a tiny village in the Sierra Norte, and he is a major critic of the United States and an advocate of natural, non-GMO, unprocessed fresh food. He loathes supermarkets and their packaging and advertising. He once held a birthday party in which the central dish was the spiny chayote squash that grows on his mom’s property. He and his wife have a newborn baby, and we are at his house to celebrate. There, in the kitchen, stacked high with boxed milk straight from the supermarket, is the canned tuna, on which they have come to rely in the fervor of new parenthood. It is so incongruous I laugh. It echoes the image of another friend of ours, a cynical, sarcastic hipster from Mexico City who works as a curator, decked out in a feathered headdress, being bathed in ceremonial smoke during a Mexica wedding ceremony. Or my husband, the gentlest soul a tiny Mexican pueblo did birth, armed with a rifle in full camo in the rain on an Ohio winter morning. Instead of seeing these as anomalies, I begin to see them as entry points: the places where people become accessible, human, where we find empathy.

Sarah Menkedick, “On Oaxaca, Early Pregnancy, and Motherlands”