Abuelita wraps me up in tamalitos, so warm, But she cools me down with Fresa Tropical, ah Canciones de mariachi cry in the background, and we Dance like we’re wearing clothes made of cucarachas Executing imprecise movements like forced twitches Fixating, fixating, fixating, on las guitarras Gently strummed, unlike the singers’ vocal chords Harsh, hoarse, heartfelt vibrations that tingle my eardrum I’ve never seen tears fall in tune to a beat like this before Just watch my mother’s head sway back and forth Knowingly imitating the tapping of the performers’ feet Like her body embodies the songs of melancholic mariachi Musical notes invading her bloodstream, her lagrimas shine Nosotros – felices en nuestras vidas sencillas Oblivious to our nearing flight departure Persistently ignoring the dates on the calendar Questioning what life could have felt like before this Repressing the thoughts of once existing outside of this Sin mi país bellísimo, sin mi país, sin mi This is my people’s holy land, but it doesn’t feel mine Unfathomable experience of being both free and shackled Vulnerable with no country, vulnerable within it Withholding parts of my soul, trapped in two places Xenophobes in two nations targeting parts of me, I’m just Yearning for my country to be mine.
Emely Rodriguez is a Latina writer from the D.C. / M.D. area. She is in her first year of the Creative Writing and Publishing Arts MFA program at the University of Baltimore, focusing on poetry. Her work has been published in 45th Parallel,The Voices Project, and Welter Magazine.