Admiration of My Heritage

My culture is what binds my family together.

It spreads me thin onto family parties and plates of tamales.

It slaps me onto colorful paintings of flowers and fields and

incorporates me into the fast rhythm of our dance.

We stomp and shake and swing.

We shout and holler and sing.

The sound of our language rings through my ears as if to say,

“Never let go of this feeling, it's in your blood.”


It stays with me while I sleep

It wakes me up on Sunday mornings.

It shows me what it means to take care of your family,

to watch over the lesser.


This bright and lively culture has supported the weight of my rough life.

Although it has fed that familiar anxiety from pushing my limits,

it has also taught me to seek light when light cannot be seen

and to believe it is there when all signs tell them to stop searching.

The canopy overhead has never stopped my people from looking for it.

This culture has pushed my family to seek

more than just satisfaction.


The same hands that picked citrus fruit in hot fields have also held my hands

when I was a child.

They worked hard to make sure the world would always be open for me.

We believe in embracing our spice.

We embrace what makes us different.

We choose to sing in our own key

We always will have beautiful art for the eyes and ears and hearts

It naturally flows no matter who is listening.


My culture is what binds my family together.

It spreads me thin across all aspects of my life.

It tells my family to ask if I have a girlfriend.

It tells me when I am done greeting the guests.

My family’s culture has always included me in their colorful works of art.

It gives off a melody like no other,

a sweet hum to be heard with gratitude


It stays with me while I sleep

It encourages me to learn my Spanish.

I accept this culture into my life

because it has taught me how to carry myself with pride

even when others insult the color of my skin.

My culture has shown me what it means

to take care of my own family

and why I should always watch over the lesser and

to show love to anyone who needs it.

For that reason, I cannot live without it.


This poem is about: 
My family
My community