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National Poetry Month – Fordham Poem of the Day


Tu (by Melissa Castillo-Garsow)

(Sept. 27, 2010: Dedicado a mi prima Edna, 19, who I never met, porque fue asesinado el 19 de Julio de 2010 en Ciudad Juarez, México.)


Tu eres diferente

From me.
You had to:
cross the border everyday
take out your passport an
sit in traffic, staring.
the barbed wire
to remind you of tu Mexicanidad.


Thousands of miles away
I never knew your border
Mine was different:
piñatas and enchiladas
Mariachis and flan
La virgen above my bed
bright pink cheeks when my friends said
“I can’t understand your dad.”


We used to wear matching bracelets
“best friends forever.”
We promised we would never become
“just primos” –
separados por un pais that makes
“nosotras” sound wrong.

is a word we never use;
don’t know how to use.
You lived in Tijuana
I lived in translation.
Vosotros is a word we don’t want to use.

She has a border too –
In a state where I tell her to carry ID everwhere she goes.
Revise: Mexican Colombian-American.
Chimichangas, cactus, cumbia.
Half sister. Three passports.
answering only en Inglés.

can’t tell the difference.

(Melissa Castillo-Garsow is a Master’s candidate in English with a creative writing concentration.)


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