I’M SIGNING LOVE letters written in blood and chocolate. I’m placing hongos on my mother’s heavy tongue. Cacao-dusted apricots, canela-covered magic, little bites of dreams. I pour grapefruit juice down her throat and watch her eyes dilate, and then she’s gone. Or maybe she arrives…plants herself smack down in the middle of the flaming cactus ears, the scarred skin on her ass runs rivers of red down the thorns. She drinks the blood off her skin, places the blossoms on her breasts, and closes her eyes against the sharp sun.
I’m stealing memories. Memories of a dirt floor, broken chicken necks and laundry snapping in the wind. Hollow stomachs warm with cinnamon sticks dipped in water. The thick hand of a Mother coming down like hard blisters on tender cheeks. The warm taste of cow’s milk and a little girl hand stitching colorful thread through a butter-stained napkin.
I’m watching myself in the mirror. I’m watching myself suck in my teeth and roll my eyes like a professional smart-ass as I obsess over the word identity. I turn the word over like dirty laundry in my mouth. Pulling and squeezing all the feelings of shame out with my tongue.
I’m cooking for my family. I’m slicing okra and licking the saliva off the knife. I’m peeling avocados into crescent moons and drizzling hemp oil over smooth surfaces. I’m smothering garbanzo beans in cumin jelly and roasting habaneros to place into the belly of warm tortillas.
I’m somewhere in between airports and filthy train stations, rickshaws and tuk-tuks learning how to cross my legs like a lady and say yes ma’am in neatly enunciated English. Being bicultural means I simultaneously experience racism and white privilege. Means I obsess over the construction of bridges and backs and spend long hours wondering how long they will both survive. It means my mother learned English while being a nanny for a white family. It means my father made me stand up straight so I wasn’t mistaken for a lazy Mexican.