Abuela's Mexico

We sit on the  broken down couches in our living room

Abuela is obsessed with watching old VHS tapes our uncle sent from Mexico 

in the video our uncle who passed away from cancer 2 years ago

films the dirt roads of our old town


he films old houses, schools, the church and the hospital 

 “That’s where you were born,” Abuela says


I have no memory of this place. I have no memory of the people in the video that say they miss me. I don’t know who they are.

“Do you remember them?” my Abuela asks. 


“I don’t,” I reply. 


something happens to the body when its uprooted from its home

it gets this constant nostalgia of wanting to return 

and thou we have seen these videos a million times

in them Abuela finds peace in knowing nothing seems to have changed


we stare into the screen imagining what it would be like to be free

"Tu ya eres Americano," she says.

But these days I do not feel American at all.


"Joto”, they say under their breaths

when they see you alone they call you “Bonito”

in public they shame

in private 

they want to kiss you

these men

confusedfearful men

are the ones 

since young we learned to watch out for

our uncles




men trapped 

in tradición 

our femininity 

is the freedom they want to take from us

its not that we lay with other men the reason they hate us

it is because we are public


no longer fearful

of god

and laws

we are free

sometimes revert to the ways

of our upbringing

loving men that don’t want to be seen with us in public

sometimes even hating

the very same thing that makes us free


the subtle violence 

of the men we love

men who rather love us