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December 16, 2009
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After only a year in
this new land,
I already straightened my hair.
I fought with my sisters
in English.

After three years,
I corrected my parents’
English and laughed
at their heavy
foreign accents.

After five years
people no longer believed
I wasn’t born here
or asked me to say
things in Spanish.

My poetry became all
English with no rhythm or pulse,
and my Spanish became
a tangled, jumbled mix of
different languages.

After seven years,
I no longer worry
about fitting in.

I embrace my
dark hair,
my brown skin,
my body’s curves
and love when my accent
creeps into my English words.

Today, Alvarez,
Debravo, and Neruda
drag me across six
countries,
thousands of miles south,
Back to my original roots.





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