La Guera’s Guerra

heart of stone

Mi corazon, an ivory-veined granite rock,

was tossed into the Rio Grande moons ago.

El Rio, the great divider of brown and white.

I want to float up and pierce the muddied waters

with my machete and fight for what is right;

for mis hermanos y hermanas, but I am only half.

I want to be one with you, but I am guera,

I have my own guerra to fight.

 

You see, part of me is Cortez, the part

that conquered you, loving you at the same time.

I want to stand for you, with you, by your side

but that would be a betrayal to the throne.

I’m the part that will give you the shirt off her back,

the part that loves to sing with you and dance with you

and share stories, the part that loves you

when you can’t love yourself.

 

But my fight is not with Cortez, I don’t take his side.

I don’t wish to conquer the world,

or colonize and bring white man’s religion,

for my other half is Doña Malinche

who learned to be ashamed of herself.

Ashamed of her humanness.

Ashamed that she fell in love with someone

other than her own kind.

 

Ashamed of the child she gave birth to,

the one who reminds her of her own betrayal;

her betrayal to her people.

Doña Malinche took a bite of the apple

and learned about sin.

I am Doña Malinche’s child, a product of her sin.

Soy gringa, soy guerita,

I can’t fight your guerra.

 

She puts up a wall now to hide her verguenza;

to keep others from following in her guaraches.

On the wetbacks of others, she’s made it over to the other side

and put another brick in the wall, sealed with mud from El Rio.

She powders her face alabaster and can pass

as she votes for Trump and denies the struggle,

dampening those who dare to rinse the mud

from blue-green eyes that see beyond the color of skin.

 

Malinche, you gave of yourself

for that there should be no shame,

for a heart wants what it wants.

A heart knows no boundaries; raises no walls.

If only you’d listen to your heart.

My heart wants to march with you sister warriors.

It wants to howl under the moon,

smear its face with mixed blood and earth.

 

I want to raise up my sword,

but your fight is not my fight, hermanas,

for my guerra started at home where the battle fires smolder

and the embers lie waiting for the flint that will ignite the flames;

where nightly I listen for La Llorona

and pray that she’ll leave me be

asleep at the bottom of the Rio Grande

where she drowned me years ago.

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