by ChiTeen Lit Fest
The (Mexican) Girl Learning How to Breathe in America
By Jazmin Gonzalez
I swim in the sea of ignorance
Searching for a breath
But all I see is that all they see is my ethnicity.
All rrrrrolling r’s and accentitos
Todo broken English y spanglish.
And all I am trying to do is breathe.
Breathe through Mexican family parties,
Full of kids who’ve never known the real Mexico
And have lost their Native tongues,
And no longer understand “their” culture.
And full of older generation
Full of old ways of thinking,
Old accents, old tongues,
Trying to breathe through people telling me
That my roots make me
A criminal, a thief, wrong
When all I’m trying to do is breathe.
Breathe through the smog surrounding me
Trying to suffocate me,
Hold me down
Because I’m a girl.
I try to breathe
Through the smog
Created by hearing a father tell his daughter
“A woman doesn’t have what it takes to be President.
You don’t have what it takes”
I learn to breathe.
I cut through the smog of oppression,
Patriarchy, racism, hate-ism.
I break through the surface
Breathe in the words of
Frida Kahlo, Selena, my mother,
Breathe in the actions of
Katherine Johnson and Rosa Parks,
And I hold these breathes,
While trying to learn to breathe my own words,
Breathe my own actions.
As a double minority (Mexicana and niña)
All you can hope to do is
Learn to Breathe in America