our skin is blessed by the sun; our eyes are dark, like roasted almonds; our lips are thick and pink, like grapefruit; our hair looks as dark as baked cacao beans. we look like this sometimes.
other times, the sun irritates our faces; our eyes mirror blue rain drops; our lips are small like new-born peaches; our hair a deep yellow, like a broom’s straw. we look like this sometimes, too.
some of us are descendants of la malinche, oshun, george washington, and gasper yanga. their stories pulse in our hearts, their past pumps the blood that fuels our existence. they are the creators of the magic that drips in our sweat and exhales in our breaths. they are the conductors of our immobility and our mobility, our exclusion and our inclusion. our founders have trapped us. they have also freed us.
we are those who left our beautiful mother. we have different mothers. some of her names are guatemala, cuba, méxico, and el salvador. we are also those who were born in the u.s. but whose parents never let us forget their mother. we also have different grandmothers: honduras, colombia, dominican republic, nicaragua—just to name a few. when we left, our mother understood. when we were born, our grandmother understood. we promised that we would carry all of our memories of them in our hearts, in our hands, in our stomachs. as a going away gift, our mother, our grandmother, gave us magic. a magic to help us remember them and their beauty. a magic to help us remember ourselves.
we are stuck between cultures, between nations, between people. sometimes, our mother or grandmother does not remembers us. sometimes, those who live with her tell her that we are not hers. they don’t remember our names, even though we share the same cousin. they don’t understand our accent although we speak the same language. they don’t understand our jokes or thoughts. we are only the children of the u.s. now. we bare only their magic now.
we can also move between cultures, between nations, between people. sometimes, when our mother or grandmother does remember us, we throw big parties. she makes us home-cooked meals and we all sing songs about our ancestors. we dance to her heartbeat—sometimes she demands a fast-paced, rapid rhythm, other times she requests a slow rhythm to calm us down. at the end, she blesses us, murmuring our names. reinstalling her magic.
we like having two mothers. we don’t like having two mothers. it can be hard to handle three mothers (some of us have more than two. imagine having more than three? our mothers get jealous. which of them do we love the most? which mother loves us the most?).
some of our mothers and grandmothers have abandoned us. the u.s. doesn’t want us. neither does our other mothers and grandmothers. they don’t remember the magic they created inside us. they don’t recognize us. we don’t look like her children. they say we’ve changed too much. we don’t eat like them, we don’t speak like them. we’ve included new things at their parties. some of us have stopped believing in her magic, and this upsets our mothers and grandmothers. they disown us. they no longer love us.
we are left in-between them, in-between mothers and grandmothers. we wait for one to open their arms to us, to hug us. the wait has been long. many of us who are here in-between created a different magic. one recognized only by us, by we who have been rejected by all of our mothers.
the alchemy of our magic is still working. it is still breathing, still singing, still dancing. one day, we hope that our magic and the magic of our ancestors can become one.