Fences, a border, the edge of barbed wire that burns into her skin screeching “Go back to your country!”
As if she didn’t work hard to learn the language you speak, the 45 presidents, or the names of the battles for “independence”
The truth is I probably know as much as you do,
If I were to go back to my country, I would be a shadow of my own ignorance because I know nothing about the place I’m supposed to call home but the names of Miguel Hidalgo and Jose Maria Morelos from history class where I was praised for pronouncing them right
But when I speak Spanish in public I am judged, looked upon with eyes that are saying “THIS IS AMERICA SPEAK ENGLISH.”
I get stares that eat at me like vultures feeding on their prey as if I was a meal they could pick apart, destroying, choosing bits and pieces they want to enjoy
parts that are convenient to them like using my culture as a costume like partying on Cinco de Mayo
If I were to go back to my country I would only be visiting what is left of my childhood, a different life
A life only known through the pictures hanging on my living room wall the stories, My abuelita y mis tíos[grandmother and my aunts & uncles] ask me “si te acuerdas mija?”[Do/Don’t you remember?] but I don't remember because this side of the border is all I've ever known
But you won't let me make a home outside my own body so I am forced to hide and swallow my blood the blood from the fences of la frontera that my parents had to cross to give me the life I now have
The border that my dad “hopped” over to make more money than he was used to but less than he deserves
A border that separates “us” from “you”, than only exists to establish differences rather than encourage diversity that is what this country is known for right?
A country that is built on the back bones of others ancestors but that is a part of history we choose to ignore
A border that is a fine line a narrow strip along a steep edge that people cross every day through the desert with a Virgen de Guadalupe y El Santo de su Misericordia[The Virgin Mary and the Saint of Mercy] in their pockets, praying to God that they will one day see their family again
A border that isolates the undocumented, the “not worthy of your papers,” but worthy of the jobs you don't want
A border that my parents crossed to wake up every day before the sun does to pick the fruit that is on your table for their daughter to be told she can't get financial aid or in-state tuition because of her status
I am called a dreamer but I can no longer afford to dream
That border, La Frontera that sticks fence rods in my flesh that splits me
I am neither from here nor there
So tell me,
Where am I supposed to call home?
Original spoken word by:
Lizeth Cortez Ibañez, 4th year
McNair Scholar/DREAM Center Fellow/President of Lambda Sigma Gamma Sorority, Inc.