Who I am

Who I am

Am I my long Spanish name?

Or am I the tongues of those who cannot pronounce it?

[Can't I just call you Maria?]

Am I my full, curvaceous, petite body frame?

Or I am those who only scrutinize my shape, paying more attention to what’s below my shoulders than to what’s above?

[Oh she’s got that Barbie booty]

Am I my first-generation college education?

Or I am the cracked, dirt-stained hands, scorched necks, sweat-laden bodies of my people?

[*ha* Of course you got in, you’re Hispanic]

Am I my family of four?

Or am I those who share my blood but not the title of family?

[Do not call that man your uncle]

Am I my Latina, Honduran, Salvadoran, American culture?

Or am I a compilation of passed-down memories, second-rate language and broken experiences?

[How can YOU be considered Salvadoran if you’ve only spent one day there?]

Am I the 1,400 miles between us?

Or am I the highways, landscapes, hills, dirt roads, rain and butterflies on the way there?

[You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into to]

Am I my citizenship?

Or am I the border to freedom, to a better [un]documented life?

[Illegals don’t have a place here]

Am I my strong, bold, soulful, passionate character?

Or am I the constant, drowned-out repetitions of what is wrong with me?

[She needs to fix that face and that attitude]

Am I my feminism and femininity?

Or am I a production featured in the background, in the shadow of man, played by an inanimate puppet with a hushed voice?

[You’re the only one in the world who has those feminist views]

Am I my bilingualism?

Or am I the accent that sounds too white, that sounds too Hispanic, the impossible perfection of two languages?

[I’m going to have to talk sophisticated around you]

Am I my professionalism?

Or I am the long tireless hours in the fire-breathing kitchen, the chlorine-stained and grime-covered cleaning lady’s outfit?

[When they ask you tell them your mother is self-employed]

Am I my suffering?

Or am I my spirit of overcoming?

[We can’t be a family unless there’s peace]

Am I my faith and beliefs?

Or the questioning, ridicule, and unwillingness to comprehend them?

[Oh… you’re one of them?]

Am I my womanhood?

Or I am the shame of periods and not being ladylike, of being told “You blank like a girl”?

[Remember that ladies don’t eat onions]

 

An open-ended question

A never-ending answer

Am I a concrete immutable noun?

A to-do list half-full, half-empty of adjectives?

Am I definable?

 

This poem is about: 
Me

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