My English has sharp Ts like espinas de nopal
How can I soften the sharp Ts in my sound?
The ones I acquired at school
where the teacher used to say ‘keep your accent for flirting’
When you aren’t British, or Latina, or coloured, or white,
What are you?
Latinos, the ones with lovely skin like dulce piloncillo
call me a mongrel.
People look down at me with a little mocking smile:
too apasionada, drámatica, oh she’s so funny
Bisnieta de Andaluz, hija de madre blanquísima.
Descendiente de Moros.
Often I envy a los Latinos del otro lado del océano,
them who aren’t separated from their roots
por todo un pinche mar Atlántico,
solo un muro/a wall, or a river called Rio Bravo,
a torrent that vanishes in the cold of winter
then emerges from the ground like a deep wound across the desert,
like my tears/ my rage lying in wait behind
mi sonrisa, that pounces upon some unsuspecting victim,
never the apropiarte target.
Mi rio está lleno de ahogados.
Only when you start withering you notice your roots are drying, dying,
then you might choose to sing to todas las brujas and remember:
comes the lullaby humming softly like the Rio Bravo
at the beginning of spring and you sing the tales of all your dead
give their flesh back to the bones.