i saw you once more

by Paola Ruval

Illustrations by Sarah Belle Lin

I saw you once more

under the hot blazing

unforgiving sky

standing behind those

blooming iron diamonds

whose shadows fail to hide you

Your eyes pierced out from behind

the dark cool lines

that cut your face into pieces

they whisper “Mírame”

I want to look away in shame

By then, the folds of my hands begin to unwind

blood drips deep from my fingertips

painting virgin roses on the floor

that glimmer bright without remorse

Smiling the roses rise from the dirt

fighting cruel sun rays,

they climb the traces of my veins

thorns against my knees I stand

as they sway away to familiar sounds

They dance my mother’s native tongue

I know every gentle syllable

I jump between their world of words

to understand my Tata’s laughter

to guide strangers under harsh fluorescent lights

to tell my grandmother I’m alright

Now I know you

you are a part of me.

we live among divided lands

you lie beyond the parted grounds

grounds lined with shiny rusty iron diamonds

that grew strong and tall from fear and hatred

I’ll never fully comprehend you

you’ll never fully know me

But we shall meet on crowded humid church afternoons

singing “Paloma Blanca”

on summer days watching Pedro Infante, Cantinflas

Tata’s favorites

under Cielitos Lindos

rushing for Piñata candy

unaware of its cultural difference

Until realizing that parts of us

in some of us

Chicanx’s or just Mexicanos Americanos

hold remnants of those virgin roses

those glimmering pieces of our culture

So I’ll walk with these thorns

soft petals, and lovely skies

to keep you close to me

Because although

I may never fully

be you

know you, or

understand you

You will always be a part of me.