Mi Perla Bonita This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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you straighten your hair
and add highlights
to look like the white models in Cosmo
your fingers are marked
with beauty-quiz smears
and i miss the braided kinks

somebody convinced you to pierce your ears
but your eyes have lost their diamonds
the stars have fallen from the ink of India
from beneath the woolen fibers
of the cream-colored overcoat
to replace the butterscotch skin over your bones

she, mother, rolled the corn flour
beneath her knuckles for tortillas
he, father, worked with the smell
of grease and dusty car exhaust
between the flapping white sheets on the clothesline
peeks the fence your family legally crossed
reads the sign, “best jobs – Maryville, TN”

the nurse who birthed you
will ask for a green card
an English teacher, some pitiful woman,
refuses to let you advance because you're bilingual
so much for
“give us your weary
your poor
your hungry masses”
what about blacks, browns, reds, yellows, and us half-breeds?

we don't watch the TV anymore
there's too many gameshow host politicians
more concerned with ballots than those who cast them
so, mi perla, i'll say what they won't

you are beautiful, mi amiga mexicana,
you, first generation, a rarity in the rough,
te amo, a strong sentiment, one you teach
you, with your curvy figure, are judged not
by the beauty of the landscape, but for the
ebony pools that know not of their depth,
the cascading split-ended tresses, and the dusky
envelope that encases what is
the human heart.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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