My family won't let me play unless I call the cards in Spanish: la botella, el apache, el cantarito. We cover our cards with beans we can barely see against our skin, plop down tough little hearts of dirt that might split in our hands. We become clichés. My cousin Ruby strolls through the house in a black tank top, asking if anyone wants a tattoo in Old English. My tia asks me to order the package for Daniel. Use Gol·en State Care, Mija, I hear· from Rachel that they were the best. I order ten Top Ramens and a pair of Nike Cortez for my cousin who lives in a box at Wasco. I can't help but think he's built it himself. We say our own names for the people on the cards. La chalupa is the girl in the boat; el negro is my cousin's Oaxacan boyfriend Sleepy; el soldado is my brother in Iraq; el borracho is my Tio Gilbert splayed on the couch; el corazón is my sister, the only reason my father does not leave; and el Diablo, my mother says that's me. No matter how many chances I get to correct, no matter how much my tia glares, I cannot call the cards by their rightful names if they don't have one. We are both el apache and la dama, the lost and the found. I have twice inherited one language and lost my atlas to the fifth dimension of Chicanismo. The words we never asked for make us illegible. Nights like this, I drink to remember the friar forcing my r's with curled leather, the quiet god making my a's a little dirtier. I reclaim mutilation, roll it like a velvet red carpet to the dining table, play the appropriator, play the priest but not the pocha, not here, just the halves of myself I never wanted to be. I know I'll be ashamed of it tomorrow. That's why I'm praying with my hands in my coat. That's why I throw the beans away every time.
Intersectionality & Culture
The repetition of similar vowel sounds that takes place in two or more words in proximity to each other within a line; usually refers to the repetition of internal vowel sounds in words that do not end the same.
conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie
written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure
a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic
a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”