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where i’m from

Illustration by Alvaro Hernandez

i’m from the blisters and the

calluses on the immigrants’ feet;

the long-life dream of a life

where dreams and aspirations

            exist
i’m from a family whose origin

is within the graffiti stained walls

of the murder capital of the world

i’m from the hot sun and the lush

green trees – 

where my dreams and adventures 

are found within every leaf 

i’m the skin color of the Pipil 

and the tongue of the Spanish

i’m the black and white 

photographs

on my great-grandmother’s wall

some faces known, 

                                        some unknown

the hums of my ancestors,

the lost dialects

the never-ending passion

for the never-ending struggle

~~

i am from those families who have seen war

blood and rifles in the hands of children –

children with no future and no hopes except

maybe one in the United States,

where individuals lose their identity

                                      culture

                                                                                                 and sense of belonging

when standing before the white man.

those who crossed borders and borders and borders

with nothing but a dream to improve their own lives

and the lives of their children,

marking the ground they walk on with dignity

as their past life in their home country 

decimates to dust,

as they enter a world of long days 

under the burning sun

drenched in sweat from the vegetables fields

inhaling toxic chemicals one breath at a time

in order to feed their families;

the tired hands sweeping and cleaning and

slowly

               slowly

                                 slowly 

losing strength.

i’m from those individuals

who have given up everything for their families,

who only want their children to make those dreams that 

were so far away in the homeland

into a reality.

i’m from la gente that

carry the beauty and grace of their 

ancestors,

as the word home becomes foreign and far away,

as the struggle to decipher words and sounds of a 

new language increases with difficulty,

as if looking at alphabet soup.

i’m the heartbeat of mothers and fathers

willing to walk through deserts 

          (endless deserts) 

to provide their families with survival

          (with a future)

and my heart aches 

for those whose identity is torn between

aquí y allá – 

for those whose skin is kissed more by the sun

for those not welcomed in the land their parents believed promised 

a world of endless success,

a world of safety.

every waking breath

is a need for survival,

leaving behind everything they know

and not looking back.

the universe belongs to us.

 

To view this article in its full designed glory, head over to our Issuu to view our Fall 2020 Boundaries Issue!