not misnamed

I use to wonder
if I should have been named
something that reminds me of the nopales I eat every morning,
sautéed with tomatoes, onions, potatoes, and chile.
A name with the smoky scent of tortillas I flip
on the comal. A name that illustrates the Mexican sun
breathing life into the Sonoran desert and
small, purple cactus flowers.

My name is Julie
Julie because my parents heard it on television
once and thought it was prettier
than cactus flowers. You see, my skin,
as deep as L.A. sands,
and my hair, as dark as burned corn husks,
confuse people.

I introduce myself,
and strangers say “Nice to meet you, Julia.”
I tell them that it’s only Julie
and they apologize. They say
they thought they heard me say Julia.

I think they heard Julia because
they think I don’t look like a Julie.

spanish girls

in midwestern diners, they order horchata, frijoles, y arroz
and squeeze their watermelon hips on red, plastic stools
while waiters savor their flavorful accents
dripping of rumored mojitos, tequila, y piña colada.

onlookers whisper, they’re spanish girls
and listen to the humming of tenochtitlan in their voices.
where are you ladies from? waiters ask, and
they don’t say spain.

old palm tree leaves, tangy cocktails, juanas y marias
la rojigualda

brand their faces, despite the taste of
other earths on their tongues, spurting with everything
but the lives of spanish girls.