before I was born I was an inconvenient
bulge in an already starving belly
a consequence. Ma’s decision
to drop out of college. a catalyst.
pa didn’t make it to Noche Buena.
or Ano Nuevo. or the third trimester.
my great tia’s bastard child and a prayer
to the almighty Papa Dios
before I was born I was poor, hungry,
eager as the northern star to light
the way above the infinite desert.
a kick in mama’s gut.
a thirst. a will
before I was born I was the thumping
in Mama’s heart at the border
running through dust and from men
both in uniform and not.
I drank dirty river water and danced
punta to her quickened pulse
starting from the belly pregnant with fear
across her rib cage and
Through every artery
I was born just beyond
the border in Santa Teresa,
my newly formed head
bowed to mama’s Santa Maria
baptised in blood, feces,
and American pride.