What it is to be Salvadoran-American

Identity is the flint of the modern age

Sparks rain when we shape who we are

Nations big and small all share their drowned  voice

What is mine, you ask? Well, I'll tell you

 

To be one of mine is to  understand two realities:

You will always be an other, no matter how hard you try

Your language will always betray you

And

They will always mess up the label

You are Mexican one day and Puerto-Rican the next

 

To be one of mine is to know that others like you aren't coming to America

They are leaving their homes, their families, their lives, and gambling on another

Many won't make it

The others are the ghosts that do everything that no one wants to do

They are ghosts until they are not, and then they are gone

 

And our histories have had all the occupations of the great civilizations

There were kings (rebels they were) and then they were hanged

Replaced by new ones a continent away

Poets and priests shared wisdom and love until stopped short by the guns

Peasants were given praise until they opened their mouths

 

Our Spanish great-grandfathers were apparently too shy to ask for permission

And so our nation was sired as well as our great-grandmothers' tears

 

To be one of mine is to know what one half of you did to the other

How we as Americans burned what we as Salvadorans called our villages

How our souls were worth a pittance and how we keep working for that much

It is to know what no one else cares to know

 

 

 

 

 

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