little boy toiling in the beet field watching white people gather for a track meet toil and soil and summer sweat rows extending to the end of dreams melt youthful vigor into puddles of warm despair
across the road they’re gathering ’neath the cover of umbrellas flowering like tulips blooming in the manicured turf they’re sitting on nylon camping chairs ’n sipping cold-sweat bottles of Gatorade pulled from coolers the colors of fire & ice
I’m so hot and thirsty tired and dirty said the little boy to the relentless sun but we don’t go home until the field is done while across the road cheers and laughter and idle chatter waft on breezes carrying the scents of sunscreen ’n privilege
Mom (right), Aunt Jennie (left)
Amah (left), Mrs Mitotes (right)
Aunt Mary circa 1930s
The photos above show some of the author's family members. The third photo the author mentions in his description below is the one used at the beginning of the feature.
In his words: The one of my mom and great aunt Jennie was taken at a migrant worker camp called a "Colonia." The next one is of my Great-Grandmother, the full-blood Yaqui from Mexico; my brother and sister and I called her Amah. Third one is my Great-Uncle and cousin in between members of one of the families who worked the fields with them. Those three were taken in Weld County, Colorado in the early 1940s. The fourth one is my aunt in a beet field taken some time in the 1930s. I included that one because it closely aligns with the poem's opening line even though it's not of a "little boy." They didn't take pictures of themselves working in the fields because once the work started, as the poem says, they don't stop until the field was done.
Joe Menchaca is an emerging writer of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction with a Master of Arts in Professional Creative Writing from the University of Denver. His poetry can be found in Dissident Voice. Joe’s writing is marked by an unpretentious, gritty, and raw yet lyrical style. Unflinching in his examination of self, literature, and culture, his distilled style reflects a sensitive and perceptive exploration of life. Joe, whose parents were migrant workers that settled in Colorado in the 1920s, was raised on farms in Northern Colorado, and in the summers, he worked hoeing beets and picking crops. According to family oral history, one of Joe’s maternal great-grandmothers was full-blood Yaqui from Mexico, and a paternal great-grandfather was full-blood Cherokee. Joe currently lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with his lovely wife of nearly forty years, and Tiny, their Chihuahua.
Listen to David A. Romero read "The Redemption of Roxy Salgado" (text below).
“This seatbelt Is suffocating The walls They’re closing in!”
These were the words of one Roxy Salgado From Rowland Heights, CA Psychology student at UCLA Before she unclicked her seatbelt And opened her car door to the 10 Westbound Psilocybin was pulsing through her veins A whole bag of magic mushrooms churning in her stomach Against the advice of members of her cohort Three of them in that car Couldn’t manage to calm her down Prevent her from tumbling out Somersaults and side rolls As her body went limp into the wind The black pavement under the night’s sky Illuminated by post lights.
It wasn’t Roxy’s obituary In the following morning’s paper But that of Patricia Guzman Mother of three Resident of Pico Union, Los Angeles Hailing from San Miguel, El Salvador Severe trauma to her neck and spine Blunt force trauma to her brain From collision with dashboard An airbag that never deployed According to her husband Victor Her last words were, “Me duele” “It hurts” And fragmented questions About the safety of their children.
Roxy awoke at a friend’s house in Southeast Los Angeles With a headache Sprained ankle Some cuts and bruises Unanswered texts and voicemails Clothes embedded with gravel And stained with blood and vomit.
Three months later Roxy is in a state between uppers and downers Leaning on a chain-link fence Across the street from a house in Pico Union, Los Angeles It is once again nighttime Roxy looks in through partially open windows Revealing the Guzman family inside Victor and his three children There is laughter There is screaming There are long silences and muffled whimpers Victor often walks around aimlessly Moves to start something And abruptly stops The youngest of the three Lusita Has a Dora the Explorer doll Sometimes she talks to it Clutches it tightly for hours Crouched in the same spot.
One month later It is the eve of Lusita’s birthday Roxy has gathered that from outside surveillance Roxy’s parents Have no idea she has functionally dropped out of school Roxy spends most of her days visiting friends and dealers Going to parties Kickbacks Afternoon hangs Walking the lampposts and pavements of Los Angeles But every trip eventually takes her back to the Guzmans On one walk Roxy found a discarded piñata on a curb An unlicensed paper mâché and chicken wire Dora the Explorer That day Roxy picked it up Took it with her on the bus and dragged it home Fashioned it into a costume.
Roxy stands now In the Guzman’s kitchen with it on After having broken in Her mind is swimming With guilt and hope The pain of something that happened to her long ago The little girl Lusita Walks into the room Sees Roxy As a shadowed paper mâché monster And screams Roxy lifts her costumed hands To try and comfort Lusita She wants to hold her for hours Tell her everything will be ok Lusita runs away Continues screaming Roxy hears rustling in other rooms Victor shouts, “¿Qué es eso?” Roxy panics Tears the paper mâché head off Sprints through the kitchen door Through an alley A block over Roxy can still hear Lusita’s terrified wailing Roxy is panting and sweating She leans on a fence still partially covered In the collapsing costume She weeps As the neighborhood dogs Awaken the neighborhood One snaps behind her Teeth colliding with the fence Roxy runs Eventually finding her way home.
Roxy never returns to the Guzmans’ She goes back to attending classes Asks for extra credit Graduates And in time Finds a job On her best days She forgets what happened On her worst She drinks Pops pills Starts doing something And abruptly stops Or sits for hours In the same spot.
The Guzmans struggle with the loss of Patricia For many years longer Lusita occasionally awakens with nightmares Of a paper mâché monster in the house But in time The nightmares abate.
Victor Keeps a copy of the paper On his antique wooden nightstand With the article about what happened the night Patricia died And within it It outlines how Victor Swerved into the shoulder of the freeway To avoid a head-on collision With a truck heading the wrong direction There is a statement Issued by the trucking company Giving their most sincere condolences Promising the immediate termination of the driver And in the cold calculations of the value of Patricia’s life The announcement of a settlement.
Nowhere in the article Is given mention to a Roxy Salgado Of Rowland Heights, CA Or any other person Who may Or may not have been In some way Responsible For the accident on the 10 Eastbound that night.
David A. Romero is a Mexican-American spoken word artist from Diamond Bar, CA. Romero has performed at over 75 colleges and universities in over 30 states. www.davidaromero.com
Excerpts from The Shadow of Time by Robert René Galván
The Shadow of Time New Year’s 2018 – Bear Mountain
The International System of Units has defined a second as 9, 192, 631, 770 cycles of radiation corresponding to the transition between two energy levels of the caesium-133 atom.
The star glares through the glass; A frozen lake between two mountains; The world turns on its spine as it has for billions of years.
What’s a year?
An accretion of eddies within a vast storm, An endless trek, but more than the distance Between two points, a resonance we feel compelled to track, First with arrays of stone, then with falling grains of sand And complex contraptions of wheels within wheels, The heartbeat of liquid crystal, the adumbrations of an atom.
I listen to what the geese tell me as they form a V in retreat, The toad as he descends to his muddy rest, The perennials as they retract beneath the frost, The empty symmetry of a hornet’s nest, And the choir of whales fleeing in the deep.
They all return like the tides, so tethered to the sun and moon, While we chop at time with a pendulous blade, Doomed to live in its shadow.
And then, the machine stopped; the sky began to clear when the great gears groaned to a halt; the ground ceased its shivering, stars appeared and beasts emerged in our absence, wings cast shadows over empty streets.
In the gnawing silence, a distant siren reminds us of a gruesome tally; we peer from our doorways for a ray of hope, long to walk the paths we barely noticed.
In the ebb and flow of life and death, we inhabit the low tides, a scant respite from irresistible waves.
After a time, most will return to normal, become mired in old assumptions and petty desires, to the ways that failed us,
But a few will awake to find that the world kept turning and changed:
They will walk into the sun And shed their masks.
Hommage à Neruda
What does the horseshoe crab Search for in the murk With its single hoof,
Or the she-turtle In her lumbering butterfly Up the shore?
Does the quivering hummingbird Find solace as it probes The dreaming delphinium,
Or the velvet worm As it reaches with its toxic jets?
Are the choral cicadas Worshiping the sun After emerging from seventeen Years of darkness?
What of the myriad species That have come and gone, The gargantuan sloth, The pterosaur that glided Over a vast ocean From the Andes to the coast Of Spain, Saw the seas rise and fall Back upon themselves,
Just as I slumber and wake For these numbered days.
L’heure Bleue – The Time of Evening
The sun has set, but night has not yet fallen. It’s the suspended hour… The hour when one finally finds oneself in renewed harmony with the world and the light…The night has not yet found its star. -Jacques Guerlain
As the world folds into shadow, A grey tapestry descends:
The coyote’s lament from the wild place Across the creek and the fading chorale Of the late train awaken crepuscular birds Who inhabit the rift like rare gods.
Abuelo sits in the cleft of a mesquite, His rolled tobacco flickering With the fireflies as a dim lantern Receives the adoration of moths;
A cat’s eyes glow green In the gloaming light And a cloud of mosquitos Devoured by a flurry of bats.
The outhouse door moans open And the boy treads quietly On the moonlit stepping stones, Through the corn and calabacitas, Under the windmill as it measures The October wind;
Pupils widen like black holes, Ingest the night spirits, And he cannot yet imagine A world beyond these stars, Or that he will someday Live in a place where it’s never dark.
for Zuzana Růžičková
She clutched the leaves in her hand as she waited to be loaded onto the waiting truck.
Somehow, an angry wind lifted the notes and they sailed down the street like runaway kites,
But the music rode along in her heart, persisted through every kind of horror, from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen, antithesis of the camp accordion and broken strings’ blithe accompaniment to endless roll calls in the bitter cold, starvation, dehydration, executions and the merriment of the guards.
Those pages looped in her head even as she wrestled a stray beet from the cold ground, digging with her fingernails to feed her dying mother.
When she returned to Prague, her hands were ruined, and new monsters would soon appear in the streets, but the Sarabande sang in her insistent fingers until it circled the soiled world like a golden thread.
* Harpsichordist, Zuzana Růžičková, is considered one of the great musicians of the 20th century. She survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen.
The work in question is J.S. Bach’s E minor Sarabande from the fifth book of English Suites. Růžičková had written it out by hand at the age of 13 to take with her during her internment.
Robert René Galván, born in San Antonio, resides in New York City where he works as a professional musician and poet. His previous collections of poetry are entitled, Meteors and Undesirable: Race and Remembrance. Galván’s poetry was recently featured in Adelaide Literary Magazine, Azahares Literary Magazine, Burningword Literary Journal,Gyroscope, Hawaii Review, Hispanic Culture Review, Newtown Review, Panoply, Sequestrum, Somos en Escrito, Stillwater Review, West Texas Literary Review, and UU World. He is a Shortlist Winner Nominee in the 2018 Adelaide Literary Award for Best Poem. His work has been featured in several literary journals across the country and abroad and has received two nominations for the 2020 Pushcart Prize and one for Best of the Web. René’s poems also appear in varied anthologies, including Undeniable: Writers Respond to Climate Change and in Puro ChicanX Writes of the 21st Century.
Rinconcito is a special little corner in Somos en escrito for short writings: a single poem, a short story, a memoir, flash fiction, and the like.
“On The Car Ride Home” by Diana Aldrete
For my sister Griselda
Time is all but an illusion stuck in theory relative to Einstein sitting on a train.
Our point of departure, qualified by loss, always by those we left behind. The echoes of goodbyes in the rearview mirror and the reassurances that no matter space or time love and remembrance would persist.
They ripped us from our beds while it was still dark out, and dumped us into warmed-up car seats, the moss of furry blankets ready to cradle us back into slumber. Papi would say it was to beat the morning traffic, but Mami made sure to bring our focus back, “sleep,” she would say. But as if by the speed of light we would wake up past state borders: Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and then into the open arms of Mexico: Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Coahuila, Zacatecas, Jalisco.
For many months during the year, and for several years, we shared stories, family anecdotes, antidotes to scenarios – lessons to learn from the past inside that car. We would look out the window, finding our gaze upon others, cocooned in their world-on-wheels, like a rushing herd of buffalos onto the same greener pastures. Time passed before us like shadows on a screen, only able to catch on still motions of the mountains, the canyon drops, the desert plains, and the flat lands. The horizon – our point of destination, but we always arrived at night, greeted by the smell of manicured grass, or the occasional wafts of wet earth.
At arrival, we fell concave to our loved one’s embrace. Kitchen tables became radio stations flash reports of familial current events announced over cinnamon-spiced coffee, burnt tortillas, and mangoes.
As children, time blossoms slowly and memory seems vaguely dispersed. As the only accomplices to each other in the car, we now draw maps of stories, connecting coordinates back to an origin because memory fails us and we forget what it took to get here, from the dizzying spells of the altitude sickness to the hugging of curves down valleys of nostalgia.
Now with many roads already traveled, we fall witness to our displacement, we negotiate mother tongues in static spaces not sure if home was there or here, or if time is dilated. But a search for home, nonetheless, an oasis in a desert of despair.
Dr. Diana Aldrete is a bicultural, first-generation Mexican-Salvadoran-American living in Hartford, CT. She is a Visiting Lecturer of Hispanic Studies at Trinity College. She is also an abstract painter, a writer, and a musician. She was born in Milwaukee, WI before moving to Guadalajara Mexico where she did her primary education, and later moved back to the U.S. where she has been ever since. She has published a short fiction in Spanish “Los charales” in Diálogo: an Interdisciplinary Studies Journal, and the academic article “The Ruins of Modernity: Synecdoche of Neoliberal Mexico in Roberto Bolaño’s 2666” in Ecofictions, Ecorealities and Slow Violence in Latin America and the Latinx World, 2019.
DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS – 11/4 (JOE & MAX) by Ivan Argüelles
i Brooklyn a park bench a quart bottle of malt liquor and a brother how did that happen late spring early death drone of skies ready to annihilate themselves an ear wrenched from its rock formation a buzz of intonations from the Mahatmas stoned and iridescent in their vanishing perched like quetzal birds on the telephone wire high above planet Nothing all comes back to this moment realization of these deaths the masks of infancy withering yet beautiful and Hey ! did you hear the eloquence emanating from the jazz trumpet of Miles Davis ? basements in accolades of marijuana smoke decadence and livelihood waiting for births for nomenclatures to disclose their irate vowels in a backyard next door to Betty Carter mind soaked in tequila playing boyhood one Last Time and it all falls down the sudden repetition of a life experience the onset of seizures the rest of breath reduced to a red parenthesis inside which the conflagration of ideas and love recycled eerie representations of store windows masked and hooded figures demons alluring and baleful and after that what is there to know a trip to the outback a dozen hospitalizations mysterious tumors ventilators bad x-rays memories of Mayo Clinic cold spells long periods before and after that no one remembers but for the poignant high notes the small echo in its shell and the massive but absent seas
ii the little red clarinet case pushed under the bed sheets wrung out turning yellow from ichor of the gods transpiration and head-wounds tilted off the moving wagon on to the sidewalks of inferno and whatever could that mean the isolation wards and always the stranger at the door bare-knuckled with a bag to capture whatever malignant spirits trying to escape the maps were drawn tight around the peninsula and causeways and trampolines for the kids to jump up and down inside the coma where an excised cosmos auto-destructs with all its plastic passengers most of whom have traveled to the Yucatan and harbored nights in Teotihuacan with vessels of ether the countdown hasn’t even started before the finish is a fait accompli the forlorn hills of dialect and twilight the way they reappear in dreams half-beings bereft of intellect and side-swiped by planetary diesels plunging like headless horsemen down the Pan-Am Highway motels and endless waiting rooms dismantled telephones ambulances and more ambulances the wrong address and finality of sliding curtains hanging like angels left to dry from the wars and the doctors of hypnosis and mercury just staring into the abyss devoid of language the cuneiform of their brains working overtime to excuse themselves from all culpability and soon it’s another Halloween trick or treating on the doorsteps of a missing basement and phantom music ascends The Monster Mash with calaveras de azúcar and the jingles and marionettes of memory dancing sing-song in the cavities I got the shakes I’m going fast
iii cada día es el día de los muertos
Ivan Argüelles is a Mexican-American innovative poet whose work moves from early Beat and surrealist-influenced forms to later epic-length poems. He received the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award in 1989 as well as the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award in 2010. In 2013, Argüelles received the Before Columbus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. For Argüelles the turning point came with his discovery of the poetry of Philip Lamantia. Argüelles writes, “Lamantia’s mad, Beat-tinged American idiom surrealism had a very strong impact on me. Both intellectual and uninhibited, this was the dose for me.” While Argüelles’s early writings were rooted in neo-Beat bohemianism, surrealism, and Chicano culture, in the nineties he developed longer, epic-length forms rooted in Pound’s Cantos and Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. He eventually returned, after the first decade of the new millennium, to shorter, often elegiac works exemplary of Romantic Modernism. Ars Poetica is a sequence of exquisitely-honed short poems that range widely, though many mourn the death of the poet’s celebrated brother, José.
Rinconcito is a special little corner in Somos en escrito for short writings: a single poem, a short story, a memoir, flash fiction, and the like.
"The Alchemy of Fingertips" by David Estringel
Long has it been since I’ve heard the shuffle of old slippers on the linoleum floor. The clanging of pans. Squeaks from the rolling pin. The thump…thump…thump of black stone on black stone—the molcajete—mashing cumino seeds and cloves of garlic—with snaps and pops—into glorious salves that staved off hungers, deep and brash. I bless that heavenly transmutation—the thump…thump…thump that spun vulgar sundries into liquid gold. That elixir of lives, swirled with warm love and splashes of water from the tap, poured into pots—cauldrons of arroz con pollo, picadillo, carne guisada, and that pollo con calabaza I could never bring myself to eat—that set eyes and tongues aflame. But, the kitchen is quiet, now, with only the smell of black bananas in the fruit bowl, abandoned dishes on countertops, and—maybe—a sweaty piece of cheese that fell behind the stove. The molcajete is dry as a bone, grieving, quietly, in a corner next to the sink—no tears left to shed (slipped away like fistfuls of quicksilver)—with no philosopher’s stone to bring back the thump…thump…thump of this heart or home nor the alchemy of her fingertips.
David Estringel is a Mexican-American writer/poet who was born in Alice, TX and grew up in Brownsville, TX for half of his life. He currently lives in Temple, TX with his five dogs and is finishing his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley. David started writing three years ago at age 49 and has had his work appear in literary publications, such as The Opiate, Azahares, Cephalopress, North Meridian Review, Poetry Ni, DREICH, Horror Sleaze Trash, and The Blue Nib. His short story, "When Blood Wants Blood," recently appeared in Puro ChicanX Writers of the 21st Century (published by Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts and The Black Earth Institute). His first collection of poetry and short fiction Indelible Fingerprints (Alien Buddha Press) was published April 2019, followed by three poetry chapbooks, Punctures (Really Serious Literature - 2019), PeripherieS (The Bitchin’ Kitsch - 2020), and Eating Pears on the Rooftop (Finishing Line Press - July 2022). His new book of micro poetry little punctures, a collaboration with UK illustrator and artist, Luca Bowles, will be released in 2022 by Really Serious Literature.
Breve historia de un grito / Brief History of a Cry by Rafael Jesús González
Breve historia de un grito
Trescientos años después de la conquista se alzó el grito de dolores, grito de un pueblo adolorido por independencia del imperio. Veinte y unos años después de ser independiente México perdió mas de la mitad de sus tierras al más joven impero del norte. Y expulsando otra invasión y sufridas otras tiranías se hizo por revolución el grito dolorido. De eso hace cien y más años. ¿Qué puede decir una historia del hambre, la sed, el dolor, la pena, el sufrir de la que se hace? La injusticia echa raíces muy largas. Deshacerse de un yugo no es ser libre, deshacerse de un yugo no es lo mismo que lograr la justicia. La lucha sigue. Pues ¡adelante! mexican@s, chican@s, adelante mundo. La lucha sigue hasta la justicia. ¡Hasta la justicia sigue la lucha!
Rafael Jesús González, Prof. Emeritus of literature and creative writing, was born and raised biculturally/bilingually in El Paso, Texas/Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua, and taught at University of Oregon, Western State College of Colorado, Central Washington State University, University of Texas El Paso (Visiting Professor of Philosophy), and Laney College, Oakland, California where he founded the Dept. of Mexican & Latin-American Studies. Also visual artist, he has exhibited in the Oakland Museum of California, the Mexican Museum of San Francisco, and others in the U.S. and Mexico. Nominated thrice for a Pushcart prize, he was honored by the National Council of Teachers of English and Annenberg CPB for his writing in 2003. In 2013 he received a César E. Chávez Lifetime Award and was honored by the City of Berkeley with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 13th Annual Berkeley Poetry Festival 2015. He was named the first Poet Laureate of Berkeley in 2017. Visit http://rjgonzalez.blogspot.com/.
Jane y John Doe* El sol brilla para todos y mucho más cuando en el camino se van dejando sucesivamente pétalos anhelos uno mismo
Dicen que el desierto palpita por eso los cactus danzan al ritmo inquebrantable del viento
La noche es corta cuando se va en busca de un sueño el día es eterno para quienes ya no pueden abrir los ojos
No hay tumba para ellos allí quedan mirando al cielo
o mejor aún bocabajo en una charla inaudible con la arena
* Nombres dados en Estados Unidos a cadáveres de identidad desconocida.
Braceros Hay instantes incluso armoniosos atardeceres en que las aves buscan a la deriva la urna de sus sueños
Sin embargo ese golpe a la memoria esa imagen no es suficiente para liberarte del pálido hastío de la ausencia
Volteas tratando de alcanzar el sur te aferras a creer y hasta repasas metódicamente las calles lluviosas y los familiares rincones que dejaste inconclusos
Tus manos ahora entrelazadas a la tierra saben que estas no son tus raíces y colocan obedientes la cebolla en la cesta deseando que sea la última
Continúas afanoso te limpias el sudor justificando tu mirada inalcanzable
Pero ¿qué hay en realidad en tus ojos?
Cuando el poeta escribe se empeña en develar lo que hay detrás del pesado telón que lo sustenta
Quiere alumbrar con una vela el más oscuro de los abismos
Se aleja como un ermitaño más allá del canto de las sirenas de los sueños olvidados
El poeta busca y en su travesía sólo logra recolectar las minúsculas huellas de la fiera que aún ruge a lo lejos
Mientras escribo nada puede hacer la tinta al impregnarse en la hoja las aguas del tiempo no se detienen los pasos de la muerte hacen ruido no permiten escuchar el vertiginoso transcurrir de la vida
Escribo otro verso sé que al otro lado del mundo y dentro de mí alguien muere
Maricela Duarte-Stern (Chihuahua, Chih. México 1976) Resides in Las Cruces, New Mexico since 2002. Compiler of: Rehilete, Antología Literaria para Niños. ICHICULT/FONCA 1999. In 2014 published El Gato en la Azotea, by Ediciones Poetazos. Co-author: Voces de la hispanidad en Estados Unidos: una antología literaria. 2018. Her most recent book of poetry: De cierta arena Ediciones La Mirada, 2019.
Four poems of remembrance and loss by Lupita Velasco
A note from the author: These poems were written after my father, Antonio, took his own life—losing his battle with depression and alcoholism.
No Me Quieren Escuchar I run around with my insides in my hands taking them to you, to him, to them. No one knows what to do, so you all watch as I stuff them back in and conceal them with a cloth. All is well even though the blood drips out. You can ignore it, just mop it up y ya se esconde. Todo está bien, no mal, just bien. Hay que seguir aguantando the pain. Porque él se fue sin tí, sin mí corriendo del dolor de aquí.
They Move On
I want him remembered, not forgotten. But, I’m not allowed to grieve. Obscurity, sadness, pain is what everyone sees. Uncomfortable, intolerable, so they don’t speak. As if erasing him erases the pain. Now that he is gone the pain is gone. Life goes on. All is well. Package it up with a neat little bow, and away it goes. Away from you. He lives in me. It’s hard for you to understand. So, we pretend that you don’t see, the sadness living in me. See, you walked away from him long before he walked away from me.
Lo Que Dejo
Will I ever feel safe again? Did I ever feel safe before? No yo creo que no, el alcohol siempre tuvo el control. Querían descansar de él, y no saber más.
Pero ya se fue, ya no está, y en el vacío no podrán descansar. O alomejor sí, pero yo no. Yo siempre lo espere ver mejor. Que algún día ya no iba tomar y ya nomás sería buen papá.
El, todos, yo, nomás ocupábamos amor, pero nos dejamos llevar por el dolor. Se nos olvidó, que para sanar el dolor nomás ocupamos demostrar más amor. Es fácil tenerles compasión a las personas buenas, pero la compasión también es para las personas enfermas.
Never Coming Back
A little girl looks to her dad for strength, the rock that keeps things in their place. I never knew how safe I felt until I went one day without the strongest man I ever knew the funniest one too. But he is gone, and this I know: I have never felt this much alone.
Lupita Velasco was born in Calvillo, Aguascalientes, Mexico; but grew up as an undocumented immigrant in Oklahoma. As a sheltered immigrant, Lupita found comfort, adventure, and refuge in literature from a very young age. Reading is Lupita’s favorite escape and writing her favorite form of expression. Lupita graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2011 with a bachelor’s in International Studies and a minor in Criminology. Lupita currently lives in Bethany, Oklahoma with her neurodivergent husband, two daughters, and four chickens.
Malinallitzin and Hernán Cortés in the city of Xaltelolco, in a drawing from the late 16th-century codex History of Tlaxcala
A Letter From Malinallitzin by José E. Valdivia Heredia
A quien lea mis penas:
Me llamo Marina; o quizá Malinche; o quizá Malinallitzin; o quizá la madre de Martín, a veces temaktekauani, la puta traidora que me llama mi gente… En estas noches eternas, en la penumbra de mis penas, no recuerdo mi nombre, no recuerdo quién soy, ni creo tanto que me importe. Aborrezco cada día que pasa y no tenga a mi lado a Martín, piltsintli, amado hijo; aborrezco el día que Hernando se lo llevó a ese infierno lejano que es España; aborrezco el día que mi lengua pronunció el primer sílabo de esta lengua diabólica que es el castellano, kaxtitl. Me siento enferma. El mundo alrededor de mí se derrumba. Mikistli: La muerte subsiste en estas tierras abandonadas por los teteo, los dioses. La plaga se roba mi tranquilidad, se roba mis recuerdos y deseo grabarlo todo antes que los teteo me despojen de este cruel mundo.
Algún día yo era de Paynalá; algún día yo era la hija de un cacique, venía de una madre poderosa, de una madre que tuvo que sacrificarme para salvar a mi gente de los mayas invasores, tlapoloani. La perdono porque sé que no fue fácil y sé que mi destino me lo obligó, que yo tuve que llegar a las manos de los españoles aunque mi gente me lo despreciara. Fui esclava de los Tabascos, quienes me regalaron a los sucios españoles, gente que atraía y repugnaba a la vez. Algunos decían que eran dioses, pero yo lo sabía diferente. La gente contaba de las bestias, tekuani, que montaban, que eran parte hombre y parte animal, que eran profetas venidos a rescatarnos. Otros decían que eran tsitsimimej, demonios blancos, que venían a matar con sus armas mágicas. Mikilistli: yo reconocí su humanidad, su mortalidad, su repugnante egoísmo.
Naturalmente, al saber los idiomas y las costumbres de estas diversas regiones, me encontré obligada a ser nenepili, la lengua, y auiani, la santa puta, de Cortés. Me regalaron de un hombre a otro como si yo no tuviera el derecho al amor. Y amor sí encontré en el hijo que me dió y después robó Cortés. En los días que pensé no más poder, mi hijo Martín, piltsin, me animaba a seguir luchando, y todo lo di por él. Ahora me encuentro en estas tierras vastas, abandonada y enferma de la plaga con la que nos castigaron los dioses. Alguna gente me mira y me adora; para ellos soy diosa aunque me sienta yo menos que un pobre insecto. Otros me miran y me desprecian; no saben que más me desprecio yo por haber pronunciado las palabras que serían mi fin; no saben que más me desprecio yo por haber sido vendida como animal entre hombre y hombre; no saben que más me desprecio yo por haber perdido lo que más me importaba en la vida, mi dulce Martín.
Si alguien lee estas penas mías, recuérdenme. Recuerden lo que sacrifiqué y justifiquen mi vida, que en estos últimos días no puedo justificar ni estas miserables palabras, ni mi miserable respiración.
Tonameyalotl, la sombra de una pobre mujer.
José E. Valdivia Heredia is an undergraduate student of Religion and Latin American studies at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. They are a Chicanx writer from Northern California born to two parents from Michoacán, México. José has published a short poem in the Harvard Latinx literary publication Palabritas.