Ruega Por ella

You are a Latina
breaking concrete
like the trunk of a tree

A child baptized
in La Virgin Guadalupe’s blood
led
to love the blonde Barbie
on TV

shushed to speak
of desire
because “una mujer decente”
feels no desire.

You walk the calles
where mouths of men
flay your body
like a piece of meat

Fuiste una hija
raised by
“Aprende cocinar.
Si no con quien te vas a casar?”

You sleep
with hunger
to feel
what it’s like to be free
from comments by the tio
that go “look,
una mujer
is like a car.
If you let more than one man
take a ride,
quien te va a querer?”

And as you hear
mandamientos
of “Mija, primero submisa
que cabrona,
y matrimonio
antes de sexo.”

You grind against the grain
as a double minority,
a woman and Latina.

With twice the obstacles
to defeat
you’re not expected to be
a president, a ceo,
a doctor, a lawyer, a leader

You are judged
for showing too little,
for showing too much.
You’re stamped
a slut
for wearing a short dress,
branded a whore
for being promiscuous,
labeled a prude
for being abstinent.

You swallowed shame
the mornings after sex –
a virgin/whore war
rupturing your corazon

On tv
you see Latinas
as maids, as home wreckers,
as sultry wives of rich white guys
but you never see yourself:

A mujer crushing
a mother’s tradition
seeking independence
in a family
where women
are bound to the kitchen
You’re running
through unpaved roads
to success, a daughter
who refuses to repeat
her mother’s
regrets
for giving up dreams
to serve dinner.

She fears
you won’t
mold yourself for a man
because your Mesitza soul
rather scour the earth
to understand itself.

College.
Sex.
Goals.
Work.
Travel.

A Latina like you will never satisfy the world

because you choose
you before el
you before them
you are a rising morning
glowing on your mother’s cheek

She worries
of your role in a man’s world
but she smiles
because you remind her of a moon
that leads the night with it’s beams
you remind her of a rio that rages
despite the rocks in between.
Your mother smiles
because you are everything
she dreamed of being.
Free.

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