La Guerita

Growing up in a border town, I felt like the runt in a litter of kittens

My skin was a few shades lighter than everyone else that every time a teacher turned off the lights, everyone assumed that I would glow in the dark


I sat in a class where Spanish was the primary language

I always felt as if the teacher was tossing me a ball I couldn’t catch

So everyday I drowned out the sound of her voice and thought about the gooey enchiladas that we were about to have for lunch


My name was a pebble sunken at the bottom of the Rio Grande. Nobody knew it.

I was always referred to as “la guerita” and everytime I got on the dancefloor, I always heard about how funny la guerita looked when she was dancing to the beat of the tss tss tss tss


I would wake up when the sun was peaking from the surface of the earth and wait in line at the taqueria amongst the other students who were going to be late

Trying to avoid embarrassment, I constantly debated whether I should pronounce my order as “two barbacoa tacos” or “two bar ba coh ah tah c oh s”


The students laughed, chuckled, whispered, giggled, everytime I got called up to read

I always wondered why I was the clown when I spoke with the same accent as everyone else


I conjured a list of everything that ignited the building fire inside of me

On the top of that list, was my appearance.


I wanted to be kissed by the sun,

I wanted dark hair that bounced every time I walked

I wanted eyes the color of a rising storm

I wanted a body so full of curves and grace that everytime I walked into the room, I wanted the boys to go “ehh ch ch”


But instead I was the color of paper,

My hair hung lifeless, dead, and flat

My eyes resembled a murky swamp

And my body was as exciting as a white rose art crayon


I packed up my bags and moved up north

Zipped out of that little Mexican town

And when I got up here not much really changed

Except that I wasn’t the whitest one


But my Mexican accent stood out

And I got weird looks when I walked up to a restaurant and demanded a barbacoa taco

It took me a while to understand how people danced to country music

Because all I ever knew, were cumbias and huapangos


I remain the runt

everytime I stand up straight, I’m a little bit shorter than everyone else


The flames inside of me have turned to spark

I ripped up every single thing that tore me apart

I will never be normal, but I’ll never be dull


Sometimes I still wonder what crazy breed of puppy I am,

But I have learned that I am proud to have pearly skin like my fathers, framing every inch of my body

And blessed to have my mothers strong Hispanic blood cascading through my veins.

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