remember me

Amá always said she saw spirits.
they were everywhere–even en el rancho,
in between the cacti and rivers that coiled
around mi abuelo’s bright orange home. even in
los estados unidos, en el este de los ángeles
as light and fleeting as memory. los espíritus
are everywhere, the past creeping up like
ivy on a barbed wire fence, begging for


unwritten rules

one of the first porches i sat on was yours.
your papá built it himself. he painted it red,
white, a pale yellow–explosions of color on a
roll of film, the black and white silhouettes being
our homes. your mother brought us quesadillas
she coated with butter and toasted in the oven,
and after i had the first bite i told you a secret i
unwillingly hid from the world. i want to go to one
of the best colleges in the u.s. i’m going to go
far, because i like adventures.

you noticed i didn’t laugh with you,
so you explained the joke.
if my family couldn’t even own property,
how could i own an education?

down the rabbit hole

dim lights barely demystify the smile of strangers
and new faces tempt the curiosity of the regulars,
who are mostly white, unshaven men with
company named baseball caps, singing along
to an outdated, sticky jukebox. others cling
clumsily to the pool table and whisper under subdued
light bulbs to potential lovers, spunky women
with blonde hair and silver jewelry. bartenders
ignore the cockroach that scampers across the
wooden counter and the rush of twenty-one year olds
who glamorize memories of that night.

prairie dreams

i had imagined that you would have come
and spiraled onto the prairie of the first college
you ever touched. you would have
drinked the spell of higher education
that pounded in campus buildings
and wrapped your sister, transforming her
into a tree you now want to climb.

you’d inhale the scent of spring manure and
briefly exhale the smog created by hands
you rubbed with coal. the empty, flat land
would encourage your love for the city of angels
but open the night-time fireflies, glowing
with probable futures.

the reminiscing of me as a child as your hands
held your hips would have sparked a string of
darkroom photo prints, where paper memories are
dipped in a tub of chemical for depth. you would
have kept telling stories until no one questioned
their accuracy, until we all agreed to sit in the darkroom
and remember with you.

you would have sat quietly in the audience
and thanked god for permitting my college
graduation, and as you read my diploma you’d
stumble over the words, like white dandelion leaves
gliding past flowers fastened to the ground.

wouldn’t have felt like a starfish laying
on empty sand, waiting for the frothy waves
to remember me.


the uncontrollable steaming of
molten rock releases confined exasperation,
cracking charcoaled, ashened lips–
the breaking of civility.

an announcement of an ignorant truth.
no quiero vivir como tú, má.

the air suffocates thirteen year old me,
but i narrow my eyes even harder.
tensions heighten and my eyes soften
like the dimming of a glaring sunlight
on a stained glass window.

mother drops the plastic plates she
had been washing all afternoon,
turns off the faucet
and my legs wobble. she wipes her
soapy hands on her thighs,
and i inhale sharply, bracing myself
for an earned slap.

she leaves.
a raw, cutting quiet to the end
of a storm.

no quiero vivir como tú, má: i don’t want to live like you, mom.

The Bookshelf Tag

Many thanks to The Paper Butterfly for tagging me! I appreciate her thinking of me. Her answers to the questions were an enjoyable read. She also has a wonderful, insightful blog—visit her if you haven’t done so already.


Answer the following questions about books, and then tag five other bloggers. You can answer the questions any way you want, whether it’s on your blog, in a video, or a combination of the two. Then let whoever tagged you know when your post is up so they can read it.


1) Is there a book you really want to read but haven’t because it’ll make you cry?

No. Crying after a book is extremely rare for me. I expected to cry after reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, but I didn’t.

2) Pick one that helped introduce you to a new genre:

Strangely, before Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, I had never read any mystery-thriller type books. After reading Gone Girl, however, I am excited to read more books in that genre. Also, the movie is coming out in the fall (in the U.S.)!

3) Find a book that you want to reread.

I want to reread The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. It is one of the most haunting, beautiful books I have ever read. It was also made into a movie, one that I also adore (but not as much as the book)!


4) Is there a book series you read but wish you hadn’t?

Usually, if I read the first few chapters of a book and it doesn’t grab my attention, I don’t finish it… so I can’t think of a book series that I read and didn’t like. But, I didn’t like reading The White Queen by Philippa Gregory at all. I had read her other books and enjoyed them—and I felt like this one was a disappointment.

5) If your house was burning down and all of your family and pets were safe, which book would you go back inside to save?

Hm, I’d probably save my journals. I don’t write in them daily, as I would like to, but they do hold fond memories and have chronicled how I’ve grown as a person. I find it interesting to look back and see how much my way of thought has changed.

6) Is there one book on your bookshelf that brings back fond memories?

One of my favorites has always been, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, a children’s book. I don’t own this book, but when I thought about fond memories, this book came to mind. I remember reading it when I was young and enjoying every page.

7) Find a book that has inspired you most.

One book that has inspired me the most? It’s such a difficult question because there are many books that have inspired me in multiple ways; some have inspired me to change my own writing style, think about a particular issue, or have expanded my way of thinking. But if I had to narrow it down… I’d pick Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Mastery of Love. I liked his ideas, and I try to apply them to my life today.

8) Do you have any autographed books?

Not yet!

9) Find the book that you have owned the longest.

I have always borrowed books from the library, so I don’t own many books. The first book I purchased for myself was at a used bookstore. Like Water for Chocolate still remains as one of my favorites today. I still need to watch the movie!

10) Is there a book by an author that you never imagined you would read or enjoy?

This is not a stand-alone book, but rather a series. Patricia Brigg’s Moon Called is wonderful. I usually don’t read series because some books tend to be disappointing, but I actually love it.

*All photos are from,,, or*


1) The Writer Girl’s Diary

2) Let Us Sail to the Moon

3) A Muslim Latina

4) Crystal Rivera

5) Urban Poetrees

If you haven’t been tagged yet but want to answer these questions, I tag you! I look forward to reading everyone’s responses and adding new books to my reading list. 🙂

a goodbye

your mountain-top cheekbones were all i could see;
if i swallowed your entire face: your pudgy nose, whitewater eyes,
small lips, and your mocha frappuccino skin,
i couldn’t have walked away with aspirations, professed comfort
for the next few months.

when we meet again, under growing poplar trees
we’ll love. love like there was never a goodbye,
like there never will be one. two planets dancing
in their shared, ephemeral orbit.

i walked away from you, and

my heartbeat sped faster than harley motorcycles
swerving down route 66, beside roads that
are as lonely as the moon in downtown skies.

a special place

your bed is my special place. i visit it so often that i forget that it isn’t mine. what first bothered me about it was how your thick, old blankets are crumpled against the white wall and corners. i was disgusted by how on the windowsill, which sits atop your bed, you’ve stuck pieces of gum you were too lazy to throw inside the lime-green wastebasket we purchased. i was troubled by the tangle of black cords that laid at the foot of your bed, the ones you warned me about not pushing off with my foot. why couldn’t you fix your bed when you had company over, like a normal person?

i wouldn’t have guessed that i’d come to love this bed as my own, my bed that has its blankets placed neatly over it with no creases. i didn’t think that i’d watch television shows as often as we do on your bed, on top of that white mattress, with its white stitches unraveling beneath our butts. i remember the first time we planted kisses all over our bare bodies on that mattress, and how afterwards you murmured sweet candies in my ear. you’ve held me countless times on your bed, so often that being held anywhere else isn’t the same. tickle fights, playful brawls, bursts of passion, and complex conversations have erupted on your bed.

one of my favorite memories that occurred on your bed is the first time i made you laugh especially hard. your laugh, the laugh i’ve now heard countless of times on your bed, reminds me of ernie from sesame street. that breathless, gasping for air laugh, that contagious kehehehehehehehehe… i remember tickling you and muttering nonsensical poetry in your ear. your eyes were squeezed shut, your smile was big enough to touch the corners of them. your body shook so uncontrollably i wanted to make you laugh even harder so that i knew that i was the only one who could make your body tremble the way it did.

this all happened on your bed, on that old mattress with the older sheets tucked away at its edges. so many memories are stored in between the lumps inside the mattress, where we’ve stitched our new thread over that frayed white one, and where we’ve weaved our sorrows and dreams. your bed is a haven for the both of us, a place where we are immune to the uncertainties of tomorrow because we are engulfed in the passions of today.