Yesika Salgado


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    Paola Ruizhas quoted8 months ago
    I think of Mami crossing / the border / the purple sky above her / the desert / deep blue blanket stretched out at her feet / she tells me she saw La Virgencita out there / I imagine Mami walking through Mexico / everything dark and slow / like underwater / had to hide her Salvadoran accent / already leaving that country behind / I don't know much of Papi’s crossing / I know the civil war made him run / the other day my cousin said this country broke your father / I know / Papi was going to be a doctor before El Salvador began to eat itself / his first home here was a garage / he showered with a garden hose / Papi was a quiet man / until the alcohol loosened him / that fire water washed him into something new / I am a happy drunk / I dance / talk / feel free / in ways I don't any other time / it scares me / how good it tastes / I was born in Los Angeles / raised in Silverlake / back when all the families were brown / all I ever had to cross was my English / the Spanglish one into the good one / I could sound white over a phone / Papi and Mami always said my papers gave me an obligation / I had to go to college and get a career / I didn't go to college / I do have my career now / I still live with Mami / Papi did another crossing ten years ago / I imagine that world blue and purple and slow too / an endless sea stretching between us / when Papi visits my dreams / I am always by an ocean / I don't know if it's Santa Monica or La Puntilla / he visits me and we are underwater / I tell him I crossed into a new place / I smile / it's a new smile / it is sure of itself / he doesn't recognize it / he touches my face / I wake up in tears / Mami is in the kitchen / I hear the water running / waiting for us
    Paola Ruizhas quoted8 months ago
    our goodbye was in the alley
    where the first boy
    I ever loved
    cupped my breasts in both hands
    brought them to his mouth
    sucked them like mango seeds
    and gave them back
    that is the spell.
    I asked for love to come and go.
    it’s been happening all along.
    Paola Ruizhas quoted8 months ago
    Your Lipstick
    you’re always wearing it. on purpose. you like the way it colors your face. your mother only wore hers for very special occasions. the same tube of soft pink every time. you—well, you are not like that. you have all the colors of a sunset in your makeup bag. the boys ask you questions: is that for me? can I kiss you? can those lips be mine? and you remember when your mouth was just a mouth. not a target or a weapon or some kind of home for lost men. you continue wearing your red. deep red. hot pink. violet. burgundy. blood red. blood orange. blood. where is the party? someone asks when you board the bus. you don’t smile. you are the special occasion. you deserve more than one tube of soft pink smeared timid across your lips. you re-apply your blood. you are a bruja now. you are the one that makes everyone in the novela cry. you look out the bus window. you wear victory so well.
    Paola Ruizhas quoted8 months ago
    a woman with her own legacy
    take this, my story.
    eat it and remember me.
    Paola Ruizhas quoted8 months ago
    I was born with a pen under my tongue. I know and own all words ever spoken. I am the dream and the nightmare. the burning bush. Moses. David. Goliath. Mary Magdalene.
    The Holy Virgin.
    God himself,
    dead and resurrected.
    I am not the survival
    I came after.
    I am the victory
    a boastful flag.
    I am not a promise. I am a threat.
    I am what takes and does not give back.
    a new history
    a forked tongue
    a priestess
    church and communion
    Paola Ruizhas quoted8 months ago
    mira loca, vení,
    tell me about that time again
    where you were free,
    where you made a mess,
    and were forgiven
    the way we forgive the men
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