Mi Niña

by Angie Santos

Photo by Ruth Chincanchan

When I think of you, I see light.

I see a beautiful brown girl

soft black curls,

Golden skin,

And laughter.

When I think of you,

I remember watching cartoons on those bright Saturday mornings,

The food fights and skating on the soapy kitchen floor.

I feel the the princess dresses brushing against our legs,

hear the clicking of plastic slippers we wore with confidence.

I see a ferocious leader with a smile full of innocence.

When I picture your eyes, full of hope.

I remember the memories we made together,

the love we had for each other.

And then you left.

You were gone and I was alone.

That once bright light extinguished.

Gone was the hope in our smile and the light in our eyes.

The days full of happy laughter silently faded.

The bliss of our ignorance fleeting.

Life crept in forcing you to hide.

Experiences aged us

Hateful words scarred us

backhanded comments became insecurities

Discrimination became the norm

But through it all, you stayed

You became our safe haven

You showed me there was strength in emotion

Power in vulnerability

I have found you once again mi niña

And I will love you