A Thank You Note to My Mother
For so long I was scared to call this land “home” out of fear
that I would be forced to leave, like many whom I have loved,
because of our race and our status.
So I didn’t.
To this day I know I don’t belong here.
I walk around knowing bits of me
are scattered in another country.
Today, it seems that the only way I can represent my motherland is to bear every bullet that has
ever been shot there.
I am made up by every wound that has ever been torn into the flesh of my people.
I don’t let myself forget that the bullet is worth more than the imprint it leaves on our flesh.
The cold minerals that make the bullets up are why you crack open my country
with our hands in the first place.
But you don’t care about the hands of our miners.
You don’t care about the flesh or the wounds or the blood or the bitter skin.
You don’t care about the sweet sweat that comes from carrying your whiteness on our shoulders,
from holding you up on the cracked palms that we dream will one day be fists.
Some days, home is just a distant memory.
Some days, I want to use mescal as perfume if only to have a bit of my culture near me
but I know that white strangers will get drunk from the stench of what I am.
They’ll gain more out of it than I will.
Some days, I remember what I was like when I was a full of thorns.
Then, I remember that it was you who has plucked my home
and the nopal that I was out of me in the first place.
When he kisses me I taste like a kind of sacrifice he does not understand.
Everything I write is just a thank you note to my mother.
This is why he does not like my poetry.
When he kisses me I taste like a kind of sacrifice he does not want to understand.
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Photo by Michael Fleshman/Flickr