I Want to Go Home Justine Narro
I want to go home.
I can still see it, still feel it
The cuts and bruises on my knees,
the dirt under my fingernails,
and the sweat in my hair
from countless days and nights
of picking naranjas from my backyard tree
BBQs where I would go outside
to pick the chile piquín for the pico de gallo
and my tíos sat outside drinking Tecate and Modelo
while my dad cooked the fajita
of chasing light bugs
o luciérnagas, como dice mi abuelo I want to go home.
A place you have never stepped foot on
but call it your land
A place you know nothing about
but say you have more right to
A piece of paper
And it is yours?
Because it is now “technically” legal
The gringos trick us
Promise us better
All for what?
To kill mi abuelo’s abuelo
For a price
Because it is fair
Because it is now yours? I want to go home.
The barrio where I was raised
A stucco home
with three bedrooms and one bath
Chickens and cabritos in the back
Our own natural lawn mowers
At five years old
when I helped place the now cracked tiles
in our new house
Where I swept the dirt off the concrete porch
not two inches above the ground
and played in the six-inch puddle of water on the edge of the house,
where the land indented from years of our makeshift driveway I want to go home.
You say it is yours
because it is America’s land
because it is on dirt
that is exactly the same on the other side of the river
with a different name
The cactus plants that housed the tortoises
The aloe vera that I would cut for sunburns
The leaves from the Mexican olive trees that I would collect
None of which you know how to use I want to go home.
The place where I met every friend
My first day of school
and the boy next to me gave me a toothy grin
and ten years later asked me to prom
You say I don’t belong
because it is your choice to make
where every memory is
where all my love is
where my life waits I want to go home.
Copyright © 2021 by Margarita Longoria. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.