Pathos is pleased to continue the Online Art Gallery installments into Winter quarter! Thank you so much to everyone who submitted last quarter. Submissions for the next issue are now OPEN and close Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019!
you can’t see my sick
slurp up my brain stem
from a bowl of cerebrospinal broth
chiffonade the basil be gentle they bruise easy
sprinkle the spice clear the pathways
split in half
reveal the seeds
that sprout roots
on the roof of my mouth
pearl on my pallet strangle my uvula
not as much as last time
new and screaming
splash of lemon
excess curdles the milk
slightly salted crush the moon
to settle this ache
“You don’t look Mexican”
Well, I was born here.
My grandparents had their flag stolen upon arrival.
They toned down the Mexican stuff
and were allowed to stay
for a bit.
One evening, my grandmother spoke
uninterrupted in her backyard as she shook from the Parkinson’s.
I never knew she was trained to hate her accent
Her mind is sharper when she travels to the past.
Her brother vowed to eliminate his accent.
My grandmother, his youngest sister, adopted the same mission.
And now, no tengo la lengua.
So, I take classes to try and find her accent.
Great-grandma uprooted the family to escape instability.
Grandma was 14 when she was excavated
like a sapling still grabbing hold of its soil.
Mexicanos don’t consider me their own.
And you make me check the “Latino” box on application assessments.
You categorize me,
while I struggle to identify myself.
I guess I’m just the right shade to be your enemy.
You tell me “Go Back!”
But I’ve never been
I’m not from the neighbor’s side of the fence.
My family didn’t even hire Americans to build ours
after they were shouted down by your winds.
We hired Juan Maria y Rosendo y Jesus y Nacho for a job well done.
Our Feliz Navidad is tamales and Presidente con hielo
and flan for dessert
una casa con toda la familia.
Y ahora las fiestas grow quieter,
so we don’t disturb your piece of the pie.
Still I pursue su lengua
without the time to find it.
Perhaps it is already mounted in the oval office.
Tourists posing in front of that fleshy, pink trophy.
Maybe some Mexican will bring it back for me.
Necesito Eagles y Jaguars
to return my grandmother’s tongue.